Peter Dumont’s Civil War:  One New York Soldier’s Story

 

Summaries of Letters Compiled by Diana McCarthy and NYS Library

 

Note: Dumont was not always careful about stating the date correctly on his letters, so the arrangement here is not strictly chronological by the date stated on the letter.  Instead the placement of a particular item was determined by its content. For example a number of letters that say “1862” were actually written in 1863.  Similarly, undated letters were also interfiled when the content provided sufficient evidence for its placement. In some cases, undated pieces were determined to be the appropriate ending for letters that were not complete, and have thus been paired together physically and intellectually in then arrangement scheme. All of these changes along with discrepancies in dating are noted.

 

 

 

Summary of Letters- Working Draft

[1858]

 

[1858][1862][1863][1864][1865] [1880]

 

 

Peter L. Dumont to [Clarinda Dumont], West Troy, N.Y., June 12, 1858 

 

“My dear wife

It is with Pleasure I now improve these idle moments in talking at a distance  I am well and enjoying good health  we are down in troy this morning and shall go down the river about noon so it will give me a fine chance to run around and see the place  Cyrus has been sick and he thought he had the fever & ague but he is better now  we had our boat spring a leak and had to go on the dry Dock because we could not pump the water out fast as it run in and besides all that we have been trading horses and we have got a bully team now you had better believe  we think some of bringing a load of coal up to Schenectaday [sic]  this trip and not to Utica  oh you do not know how bad I want to see you   you must take good care of the little girl you know what I mean dont [sic] you  if you dont [sic] I will tell you what I mean when I see you again  I dont [sic] know when that will be but I hope to see you again  oh it has seemed as though I had gone a month already  you must excuse my writing [p. 2] because I am in [a] hurry and want to go along with Cyrus around town  write to me if you please because I want to hear from you and all of you  you must try and get well by the time we get back & lo I want a kiss so bad I dont [sic] know what to do so here is one for you [series of looping letters or symbols] good by my Dearest until I return

from your affectionate husband ever true to you

Peter L Dumont

good by [looping wreath or chain around the good by]

 

 

 

[1862]

 

[1858][1862][1863][1864][1865] [1880]

 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Utica, [N.Y.], June 19, 1862

 

To Clarinda from Peter at home in Utica.  “Oh I have been so lonesome.  Since you and the little ones are gone I hardly know what to do…Every one who meets me says why Pete whats the matter.  Why you look [choopfallen] enough, is your old woman gone with both the babies, what makes you look so lonesome.” Both families are well.  Gardening, set out nearly a hundred cabbage plants.  Playing fiddle.  Notes about Jerry Mullin and his wife.  “… they have caught that young scapegrace Alex Lyons while trying to make his escape on board a vessel in Toronto Canada west.”  Not going to circus without her. Sorry she is near out of money, will try to send some.  “My work is just the same as it was and old Hill and the [musk rats] wants some just now… Tell Ida the rats has not eat pa clear all up and kiss her for me and Willie to and Clara oh take care of them for my sake”  Had supper with Jones and slept down to mothers one night.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Utica, [N.Y.], June 29, 1862

 

So lonesome tears came into his eyes, hasn’t gotten a letter in 2 weeks.  Last Thursday the 29th Almeda gave birth to a 9 pound daughter, they called for Julia but she won’t come until the next day because she and Tom are mad the baby came too soon.  Going to Bill’s.  Went to Tom’s last Friday after she came up from Jones and she was so mad about the baby coming too soon.  Malvina came to get his breakfast but he didn’t have any wood so she left.  He hasn’t built a fire since she left.  Wants to know “where them docter Books are jake wants his”.

 

“I have paid musksprate [?] 3 dollars and paid Hills 1 dollar and old Brown the milk man which I could not help he come in the shop and it leaves me pretty short”.  Wants to know how much money she has left and he will send her some if she wants it even if he has to borrow it.  “Take good care of the Babies and kiss every night for me and look upon my picture for me”.

 

 

 

[Fragment: possible closing for letter of June 29, 1862]

 

this goes on the bottom of the last page - and think of one who love you tenderly  I cant write much more on account of room so I must close now

Clara do write and be a faithful and true wife to your true and loving

Husband Peter Dumont

P.S. I shall go to church to night [line around P.S. section]  

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Sunday, July 6th 1862

 

To Clarinda from Peter in Utica:  “I want you to come home.  I want to see you so bad I don’t know what to do. “  Doing housework.  “Clara I am sorry that you have staid [sic] to roses so long and not visited your folks any more….I should like to have you visit all your friends while you are there but it is to bad to live alone so long it seems to me most two months since you have been gone.  Almeda is getting along quite well considering we have sush [sic] hot weather here.  Rachel is taking care of her.  Almeda tires her almost out she is so much like a baby she tries to have Bill stay home from his work but he won’t do it.  Dr. Russell is taking care of her. “ 

 

He didn’t care much about 4th of July and would have worked all day if they had let him.  “Our folks kept a stand and I helped them some they did not make much for such fine day. … Sam Holt tried to coax me off with him to some fancy house and said he would pay the whole bill and when I spoke of my Duty to wife and dear children away from home he laughed at me…” His mother did his laundry.  “Clara I will send you one dollar to come home”, he will meet her at the depot. 

 

“There is some talk of drafting.  Lincoln has called for 3 hundred thousand more men and they cant be got without Draft”

 

Marion [?] to Clarinda [Dumont], Cohoes, October 7th 1862

 

To Clarinda from friend Marion in Cohoes Albany County NY.  Discusses family and friend visiting from Schoharie.  Mrs. (Name?) mother “had a letter from her yesterday stating that Lyman had been down at Utica to attend a funeral he said one of his mates had died very suddenly and he had been down to the funeral.  I have been worried ever since for I thought perhaps it might be Mr. Dumont…. Tell Bill I would like if he would send me a paper when the regiment leaves Rome.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Sunday, October 12th 1862

 

Dear Clarinda

We arived [sic] in new york today at noon all well and safe. We have just had dinner our Col played us a mean trick yesterday by not stoping [sic] the cars the boys were so mad they broke all the glass and doors in the cars I will send you $3 by mr Cone he came down with us as far as New York. There [sic] 3 regiments in the park and such a jam you can hardly stir so you must excuse this short letter for I can hardly write this we are going to Baltimore today and when we get settled I will write everything

From you husband and companion through life

Peter L. Dumont

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Seward Oct 18th 1862

Arlington Heights 8 miles from Washington

 

[letterhead color drawing and poem “THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME”

Regiment went to Washington for review without him because he was taken very sick with an unknown sickness, burning up then freezing, “this morning I have a pair of lips on me big as any nigger you ever saw I guess that I have got poisend [sic]  with some of the [bushes?] around here I can hardly eat or speak good”.  Wanted to go to Washington because it would be a great sight with 6 or 7 regiments on review by “Gen Casey and another great general”.  Rumors about their Colonel being made a Brigadier General “I hope it is so I for one should like to get rid of him I tell you honestly he is one of the most unfeeling men I ever saw last night he orderded [sic] wesley Dimbley off of the ground and just so with every man that comes on the ground wess felt so bad that he almost cried he says he never knew or heard of such doings in all his millatary  [sic] life…]  Peter wishes he was home again “no money could hire me to leave it”. Tells of hardships.  “Tell Julia the soldiers cannot get any intoxicating drink here of any kind.  Send letters care of Capt Cone.  Have orders to march on Harpers Ferry tomorrow. Let him know when gets the 33 dollars from Capt Cone’s father.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Arlington Heights, October Monday 20th 1862, Camp Seward

[Letterhead of tree made of American flags and word “UNION” in red, white, and blue]

 

Feels pretty well, slight cold and headache, all broke out in face and hands and swelled up in blotches.  “The Docters [sic] is puzzled to tell what ails me some tell me I have got the itch but I hope not there is a great many sick ones here at present”.  Blames the march to Washington.  Sick include Fletcher (Dimbley?), Tom Thickens, George Whitten, John McGuire, and Ed Lomis who shot his right forefinger: “I cant say whether it was accidental or done it to cheat the government he did not gain his effect because he will have to stay.”  Rumor that Fordis Phelps drowned in the river on the way from NY. 

 

Peter went to the Arlington house, “formerly the residence of Gen Geo Washington but lately the house or residence of the Rebel Gen Lee I picked some rose leaves from his garden which I send to you….Swertfinger give me some apples blows which I send also there is plenty of them here.”  Complains of lying on the cold ground at night with no straw available and too warm during the day.  Has to get up at the call of the drum at daylight at half past five and cook breakfast before daylight so to be on duty at sunrise.  “I don’t see the fun in a soldiers life at all.  I hope you will cast a thought on us once in a while when you go to your beds and tables and think we endure hardships never seen in our homes far away.  Our Col does not get any better as I see yesterday Col Corcoran passed by here with his brigade of McMickeys I had a good sight of him they are encamped close by us a fine lot of soldiers as ever were.”  Misses her, no fences or houses, all you can see is soldiers, “you cant get a sight of a woman at all.”

 

[Postscript likely to have been with the letter of October 20, 1862]

 

“(P.S.)  Tell Malvina she must read your letters because it seems as if I must write every letter to you  ask her what she ment [sic] by that box in the Post Office and if I can send my letters there just as well it will save you something after a while because I suppose the penny Post fetches them to you

They say I am seven Hundred miles away from home  it is a beautiful country down here you can see every thing most except a woman  I have seen onley [sic] 2 since we i’ve [sic] been here  from yours

Peter L. Dumont

[p.2, centered on back] I sealed up that big letter without that Cannon Cap because some one stole it from me and I had to let it go but i’ll [sic] see if I cant get another one for you and send it some time [upside down at bottom] P.S. Ask Mally

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Arlington Heights, Camp Seward, October 22nd 1862

[letterhead of US Capitol, Headquarters 146th Reg’t N. York Vols., Col Garrard, Company – written in A Capt Cone]

 

Can hardly walk, “all swelled up in the groins and broke out in sores the docters [sic] don’t know what to make of it the soldiers here say I have got the Camp itch but the docters [sic] say I haven’t”.    They have marching orders for Harpers Ferry tomorrow but doctors say he has to stay behind and he may have to go to Washington Hospital but he doesn’t want her to worry because he doesn’t feel sick, only lame and no appetite.  Has to walk “stradel leged” and all the boys laughing at him.  The health of the rest of the camp is poor with all kinds of sicknesses.  They are getting vaccinated for small pox.  Some are getting discharged.  “This letter is covered with Virginia Sand and it looks awful dirty….this is such a bad place to write we having to lie on the ground to write… this is a very wicked place but don’t fear for me because you know what I have been heretofore” .  Young clergyman, 17 years old, held Sabbath meeting that was well attended and gave religious books to all those that would take them. [not signed so there may be another page].

 

[Loose sheet that appears to be closing for the letter of October 22, 1863]

 

“Direct your letter to Peter L Dumont Washington 146 Regiment Co A Capt Cone

I send you a piece of ising glass taken from Rocks at the Battle ^field of antietam [sic] in Maraland [sic] them soldiers give it to me last night Clara kiss the children for me every night when you go to bed and be a good woman for my sake for I love ^ you better than anthing [sic] else on earth  give my respects to all enquiring friends  I look at your picture every chance I get and think of you and all of you left at home I hope you will stay with father and mother all the while I am gone I shall feel better satified [sic] [p.2] for your being there than any where else  write and let me know if you got that $33 I sent by Cones father or not  if not you must get it i [guess] this is all at present

 

from yours

Ever & ever

P L Dumont

true to the Last”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Arlington Heights, Camp Seward, October 27th  Monday 1862

[letterhead of woman in flag dress with feather hat helping man in billowing pants, probably Zouave, laying on his pack]

 

Letter No. 9 Received 3

Got her letter and Malvina’s.  Woke up day before lying in two inches of water in tent. It was so cold they could hardly stand, “I never saw colder weather in the middle of winter than I saw this morning”.  Took quite a tramp looking for something to lie on and found a picket fence which they tore up and made a floor for the tent.  Everything was wet and they couldn’t build a fire so went without breakfast but it warmed up “… so to night  I and fletch are writing quite comfortable tell Maley I delivered her mesages [sic] imeadiately [sic] after I got her letter and tell her not to let that be the last… I want to see you so bad again I dont know what to do…”  All are getting better except John McGuire: “I think he will not stand it long if he stays here his breath smells so bad he drives every one away from him I think it is Consumption… I forgot to tell you fordis Phelps came in Camp Handcuffed and alive yesterday he was caught in baltimore and brought here there has been some desertions since we got here but I think they will be caught before long.  Tell Julia Tom is well and looks good.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Arlington Heights, Camp Seward, [Va.], October 29th 1862

[letterhead of US Capitol, Headquarters 146th Reg’t N. York Vols., Col Garrard, Company – written in A Capt Cone]

 

Got her letter, is happy to hear she is well and sorry she feels so bad about him “because I was not what you might call sick at all onley [sic] I felt kind of dead and that breaking out I had was pretty bad I was so sore I could hardley [sic] touch anything without hurting me but thank the Lord I am a great deal better so that I can begin to do something”.  Yesterday he and his regiment and 14 more went on a tramp down below Fort Albany on review “and it was a splendid sight I wish you could on such an occasion [sic] be here I know you would like to see so many men formed in line of battle I saw them from fort Albany and they look like a great mass of Woods moving along from there I went over to gen Lees house and from there down to the Potomac River and back to Camp again making in all about eight miles and I came todeling [sic] back tired and hungry enough.”  She had asked how he sent a letter from NY and he said he didn’t, but guesses because it had the flowers in it they thought it was money and broke it open then mailed it when they saw it wasn’t. 

 

“We are going to harpers ferry next Friday to form a reserve Corps in the next battle which I hope will lick the rebbels [sic] clean out and let us come home this winter.”  Their Colonel doesn’t think they’ll see battle this time and has been offered two good places for the winter “but he wont except [sic] anything but the battle field all the boys think he wants to pay us off for the papers coming out on him so hard”.  Plenty of good drilled men who are going to stay there because they have good Colonels.  The Fourth Oneida is in winter quarters and will stay here.  Sick are all getting well except a few who will be discharged.  Talks about her inquiry about a white swelling on his hip.  Feels he will stay until the end of the war.  “You cant tell how hard it is to get away from here when once you get here they are on the watch for deserters all the time… if you haint got a pass they arrest you immeaditly [sic].  They are going to brand deserters with a letter B on the forehead as a mark to carry through life”.  Tells of deserters from Fourth Oneida who got caught.

 

Wants her to let him know if they are going to do a draft again in Utica.  “All the drafted men are shoved ahead of Volunteers”.  Had his picture taken and is sending it:  “Dear Clara I am tanned as a molato but my heart is as white as it used to be does Ida know where her pa is gone and does Willie grow any poor little I should not have left them and you the way I did but I dident [sic] see so far then as I do now”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Seward, November 5th 1862, Wednesday Evening in Camp

Early Candle Light

[letterhead says CLEVELAND with multicolor print of city and woman, Buckeye State Soldiers, “MOTTO” We live for the Union, We die for the Union, We will uphold the Union”]

 

Feeling better but not on duty yet.  James DeForest said he got a letter from Bill unhappy that Peter and Fletch don’t write so he did.  Got her letter, good news from home, and twice mentions he doesn’t want her working so hard on coats for fear she will work too much. “Fletch and me are a writing at the same time by Candle light and all alone and he laughed when I told him that you wrote about our singing.  Tom has just come in the tent and was a crying because he don’t get any letters I should think Julia might write to him all the time she haint got anything else to do”, asks her to speak to Julia about it. 

 

Company is guarding Long Bridge.  Rumor going around “that we were going near the Rebels again but I have got so I don’t believe nothing what they say any more.  I think we will guard Long Bridge some time yet to come they say the army will not go into winter Quarters this winter on the account of so many nine months men.  I hope they will get through by spring because the Democrats rule again”.

 

Has spent all but three of the ten dollars he brought, loaning money to Geo Wheeler for tobacco, postage stamps, paper and envelopes, and chipping in on food that he didn’t eat.  Wheeler got a letter saying she was up to his house to see his mother and Peter heard she was down to Jones to supper.  Says how he misses her and urges all the girls to write, “Dear Dear Clara let them coats go and write to me oh how I do miss your company and society you know last sumer [sic] when you was gone how glad I was when you came home.  But I am ten times more so than I was.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Seward, November 7th 1862

[Letterhead embossed with small shield]

 

Soldiers are “suffering beyond description there is 3 inches of snow on the ground and it is so Bitter Cold we cant stand it without suffering considerable”.  Some have made arches in the tent with old stovepipes and built fires but they choke from the smoke inside so “they drive us all out doors where we have to stand and take it.... it snows and blows so we cant cook anything to eat and so we must eat bread and water… The Col has just come from Washington and he says we must pack up and leave in this storm where we are going and how we are going god only knows.”  Rumor they are going to Thoroughfare Gap. 

 

“I tell you if I only was at home with you now no money would hire me to go through what we go through here the boys have all got the home fever this morning the worst kind…while I am writing Fletch sits in the tent with eating some cold beans from yesterday and Day Bread he says tell the folks we are almost starved and froze to Death he says he has got enough of soldiers life and more to than he Bargain for I wish you could see us just now you would laugh and cry both our tent is all mud and wet and cold as ice I am writing this in smoke so I have to stop every minute to wipe my eyes I am so cold my teeth chatter in my head fletch says tell them the truth…Clara I could not help writing this and letting you know the truth maybe I have done wrong if so tell me so Dear Clara I hope to see you and talk with you and the Children once more and then there will be better times.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warington, Thursday November 13th 1862

[Letterhead embossed with small shield]

 

Made a march, tired and sore, left Camp Seward Sunday November 9 at 2 PM, marched 5 miles, halted for night, took Bull Run Road and passed Bailey’s Cross Roads.  Had two crackers and a cup of coffee for supper.  “I have heard of men taking up their Bed and walk but we have to carry our bed our house and all our furniture and everything else we got a rubber blanket a shelter tent our pans knives and forks our clothing and gun and it weighs awful heavy on our backs.  The order was read before we started that any man who fell out of the ranks on the march would be shot and that sickness would be no excuse for him.”

 

Monday Nov 10: roll call 4 AM, ate 2 crackers and a pot of coffee, marched all day 13 miles, passed Fairfax Court House, stopped one and a half miles from the battlefield.  Ate same as breakfast, laid down on ground “so lame tired and sore I could not sleep.”

 

Tuesday Nov 11:  roll call 4 AM, so sore seemed he couldn’t move, got meat for breakfast, started for Bulls Run.  Many sick.  Reached Centrevill at 10 and saw the Rebel “Defences”.  Marched 13 miles for the day, stopped at Bull Run.  “After fletch and me got our supper we went up to the Battle field it was the most sickening sight I ever saw and I hope to god I never will see again our soldiers were never buried here at all they was throwed on the top of the ground about a bushel of dirt throwed on them skulls and bones laid all over the ground hands arms legs head and feet stuck out from every grave and some of our men say they saw men that lay just as they fell in Battle but they was in the woods there is something very curious in the air down here because the hands and legs I saw was as naturel [sic] as life the finger and toe nails just the same we went to bed to night thinking of the Horrors of War fare and all its Dangers”

 

Wednesday Nov 12:  roll call 4 AM, ate breakfast, warm muggy day, started marching at 8 to the Thoroughfare Gap, reached Gainsville at 10 and the order was changed from Gainsville to Warrington.  “Stoped to day to rest at Buckland 15 minutes the boys pretty well tired out halted about 2 miles beyond and pitched our tents for night quite a Bloody fight in Co A to night our Regt Marched 13 miles to day.

Thursday November 13:  pleasant day, roll call half past 3, marched at 7 for Warrington.  Passed New Baltimore and reached destination about 11 “where ends our march for the present.  Passed to day about 50 or 60,000 men and more than twice that much here the old Fourteenth and where they are I have seen lots of Rebels Prisoners”. Describes the ragged uniforms of the soldiers, they look poor, the houses are deserted or burned to the ground.  Lots of cannon balls, shells, dead horses. “I have heard a great deal of the Sunny South but I can safely say it is the most miserable looking country that ever was…and every thing goes to show that all along that there has been fearful strife and struggle for life between Bull Run and Gainsville. Directly on each side of the road on a hill side we saw nearly a thousand dead horses and about as many graves with hands heads and feet protruding out of the ground.”  The Rebels had possession of the ground and their dead had been buried decently.  “It was the spot where Col McQuade was supposed to be killed”.  Water is very scarce and not fit to drink.  On the march they drank water out of the road.  Houses are built of logs and mud “and that’s what I call the Chiverlous South”.

 

“Clara there is not much use of telling you how I stood the march you can well guess you know I never could stand it to walk and it pretty near used me up”.  Says he sent her some drawings of the march.  Describes dangerous spot they are in, mentions “the fighting Division Warrens Brigade Sykes Division and Hookers Corp”, 26 and 57 and all NY regiments.  “As soon as we got into camp the Utica Boys and Oneida Co Boys flocked in to us as thick as crows on carrion they all looked well.”  They think they will go home in the spring.  Saw Sarah’s brother and he is a Lieutenant in Co B 14 Regt.  Rebels are 13 miles away, have been ahead of them, now across Chickahomany River. Siegel has been shelling them.  Afraid they will see hard fighting.  Hopes to see her in heaven.  So many friends coming up to him, didn’t realize how many he knew.  They marched 5 days and 60 miles.  All hope to come home in spring.  “the officers have most all here sent in their Resignation now on the account of McClellen.”

 

“Clara kiss the little ones for me every night and tell them pa will come by and by and be a mother to them and a faithful wife to me and Dearest Clarinda may god Protect and bless you all from your Peter ever true and faithful to the last”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warington, Sunday, November 16th 1862

 

Feeling pretty good again after the march.  Writing by candlelight.  Orders to move, possibly tonight.  “Jackson is in our rear with a lot of men to attack us and if we don’t leave to night we will have to go in the morning.”  Busy with inspection and drilling all day, no time to wash clothes.  “I don’t know where we will go from here the talk is we are going to attack the Rebels they say we are entirely surrounded by them so I thought I must write to him.”  Fletch is cooking their rations to take with them, has no money left for postage.

 

“Dear Clara god onley [sic] knows how I love you and my little ones keep good care of them and yourself until I see you al again which I hope above all things to do so hopeing gods blessing rests upon you all I will bid you all good by for the present.  Excuse my hasty writing. From yours fondly and truly now and forever god helping me.  Yours P.L.D”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], [no location noted, marched from Warrington closer to Fredericksburgh], Thanksgiving Day November 27th 1862

 

Was sick again, getting better.  Marched nearer to Fredericksburgh and now only 5 miles from the enemy.  “I suppose I have gotten a pretty hard cold and have got the Ereysyplius [?].”  Tom and Fletch led him to the hospital blind and with his head swollen twice its natural size, couldn’t see his eyes.  Getting sight back.  “We have had a great deal of wet weather down here and the north is losing more men by lying on the cold wet ground than they will lose in battle.”  Can see Rebel camps and General Lee is in sight with 140 thousand men and won’t leave Fredericksburgh, has sent away women and children.  Pioneers have gone ahead to fix the roads to haul cannon down to shell them out.  Resignations include “Capt Cone and Lieut Smith of Co F Lieut Trueax of Co C and Lieut Wicks of Co R.  Lieut Stanford is now in charge of the ambulance train and feels big over it because he has a horse to ride.  Marched over 100 miles from Washington because they took a round about way.  “You must know it was a hard one for me because I could never walk much I think the men will make good pack pedlars [sic] if they ever get home again”.  He was lying in the hospital this morning when the mail came and he ran out and was disappointed not to get a letter from her.  “I don’t know whether I shall be well enough to go in the fight when they get ready or not I will tell you the truth I have not seen what I could call a well day since I have been down here and what is more I don’t think I ever shall there is something down here that don’t agree with me at all I am all broke out I spots just the same as at Camp Seward”.  Hasn’t done duty there or here.  The least cold lays him up.

 

“To day we have got crackers and salt pork for dinner and they are all talking and wondering what you have got good to eat at home.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Fredericksburgh [sic] Va., Sunday November 30th 1862

 

Got her letter and sorry to hear she is working so hard on military coats.  Getting better.  Many in hospital.  So lonesome on this Sunday. Wrote a letter for Tom.  Dreamed he was home in the garden picking something for her to make soup and hurt his knee, pain woke him up and he was so disappointed to be in tent.  She had mentioned her letters might sound cold but he says they do not.  Wishes he hadn’t said some things to her but he loves her so much and his only regret is that his position in life hasn’t allowed him to do better by her.  Reminisces about children and tears come to his eyes: “Poor little Ida how she used to run for her Bonnet when I went for my Cap Bless her little pimpim [sic] face.”

 

“There is not any more news here at present worth telling onley [sic] some of them say the reason why we are lying still so long is that there is so many Peace Runners around and they think they will settle this war I hope to god it is so and then we will all come home again and live Happy and Contented.”   “P.S. I am glad to think that Pa did not come down here”.

 

Marion [?] to Clarinda, Cohoes, November 30th 1862

 

To Clarinda from friend Marion in Cohoes.  Glad to hear it wasn’t “Peat” who was dead.  Thinks of Clarinda every day.  “I was in a perfect stue [sic] untill [sic] I got your letter.  I was sorry to hear the regment [sic] had left Rome I was thinking perhaps it would not be called for this winter.  I was very sorry to hear the children had the hooping [sic] cough….the mill is running full time and we have got back our ten per cent so we are all right again”.  Mentions Ray Babcock, Bill McGarvey [?] and Ed Jones came and Gordon took him to stay briefly in the boarding house.  Went to a Thanksgiving Ball.  Give my love to [Julia? Lola?] and Bill and “Peat”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Fredericksburgh Va., Monday December 8th 1862

 

Snow storms, bitter cold, frozen canteens while on picket.  Couldn’t write because shivering too much.  He is well but had a fever and most have a cold. Notes from Fletch and Tom to family at home.  Tom feels better than ever.  Rumors of going home vs. marching, or if give up pay can go home.  He would go home.  Shelter tents “are no better than a couple of pocket handkerchiefs”.  Much Peace talk but also say going tomorrow to Acquia Creek.  Please send stamps and envelopes.  He worries about her keeping warm “in the old castle”.  Wants to know how the cabbages came out and if “the old methodist didn’t try to cheat you of of them.”

  

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Falmouth half a mile from Fredericksburgh, December 12th 1862

 

Well except back hurting a little.  Got letters from her and Joey.  Witnessed 2 days of shelling Fredericksburgh and “sot it all on fire”, some troops crossed the river after dark and had an engagement with musketry until about 7 o clock.  Trying to cross today and rebels are shelling the towns to keep them from landing.  The 57th and 66th NY were badly cut up this morning.  He and Fletch went to Falmouth to buy something to eat but shells were flying and they had to run to camp.  Describes battle with Rebels firing first on men who were laying pontoon bridge.  Thinks he will have to cross the river tomorrow.  Asks her to care for the children if he falls in battle and she has to bring them up fatherless.  Tell family his last thoughts will be on all of them.  Tell Julia Tom is well but feels bad he may never see her again. Describes how awful it is to see “the shells and cannon to work at the destruction of human life”.  P.S.  Fredericksburgh is still on fire and cannonading at 6 PM.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Falmouth 2 miles from Fredericksburgh, Tuesday December 16th 1862

 

Sixth day of fight at Fredericksburgh, horrible sights but he hopes it will make a better man of him, looking higher than earth and hopes to make his peace with God.  Details battle starting from Saturday.  “We then laid down on the battle field for the night and oh the dead and the cries of the wounded made me feel sick enough of war to never see any of it.”  Dead were all around and wounded passing through. Sunday shelling and Co I [?] Grimley was only one wounded.  Col took them further house and they laid behind brick houses.  Laid under fire 3 days.  146th escaped pretty well. 

 

Went out 8 or 9 last night to dig entrenchments and at 4 AM made a grand retreat.  Whole army is back on this side of the river.  Enemy has possession of town, gave 10 hours to remove wounded.  “Gen Hooker had said that this is the 2nd Sebastipol [?] and that it was awful to place men in front of such Formidable works as the Rebels have got behind Fredericksburgh.”  Describes dead and terrible slaughter. Almost impossible to take Rebels because so many rifle pits.

 

“Dear Clara when you read this don’t think that I am weak but you know that I always was tender hearted and I cant stand such scenes…” Asks her to bring up children well if he dies and wishes all well.  P.S. not much fighting today, talk of being paid off after this fight.  Tom is sick with diarrhea.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek Va., Thursday December 18 1862

 

Describes horrors of battle of Fredericksburgh and retreat:  “Our Regt they say was the last one out of the City and so of course they must of covered the Retreat.  I think if the Boys had of known of it at [sic- missing word?] time there would of been a great deal of Excitement amongst them. “  Because they had laid in the city so long and saw so much without participating in it they were especially upset.  “Our Col was heard to say he would not lead them in the field for anything they was so excited he was afraid he could not command them.” Describes how they didn’t go into battle immediately even though he thinks they were ready.  They were the next in line to go but the firing stopped and they withdrew under cover of darkness.  In the morning the shelling started and they fell back in the town behind brick houses. Describes lying there Sunday and Monday expecting to go into battle in any minute.  Describes building trenches at night with everyone whispering.  Describes retreat.  “I for one Dear Clara with some others which brought up the Rear guard was about the last that left the City We lost our Regt and we did not know that we were Retreating and we was running all over the City after our Regt so when we came to the Bridge they was tearing them up.  I saw when I left the town a great many soldiers yet in town which had stragled [sic] from their Regts”. Has heard the Rebels took a thousand prisoners.

 

Asks about the children and if Willie is as fat as ever and walking yet.  Fletch got a letter from home and says to tell all he is well and safe. Fletch found a new overcoat in the street that is splendid and he is going to send it home.  Peter will send a “secesh letter” which is worth something because it is from the Rebs.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek Va., Friday December 16th [sic- probably December 19th] 1862

 

Sketch he started of the bombarding of Fredericksburgh while it was happening but they got ordered across the river and he couldn’t finish it.   They are under marching orders, some say back into Fredericksburgh, others say back towards Washington.  He doesn’t think going back because old guns were replaced with new Springfield rifles and all sick and crippled were sent off to the General hospital including Tom and George Wheeler went with him.  He doesn’t know where that is but some say Washington. “But the men don’t want to fight any more some of the Regulars are getting paid off.”

 

Says he can tell she didn’t keep her word to write every Sunday, feels bad she is lonely “but where is lotty and malley they cant all be going”.   Many received food boxes and everything was spoiled, would like a box but she had better wait.  All hope to go home in the Spring.  Can’t wait to see her and dreams of little Ida almost every night. Perhaps she will never hear from him again if they go into a fight.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek 4 miles from Fredericksburgh, December 20 1862

 

Great many sick and dying of exposure, cold and wet.  Tell Julia Tom is pretty sick with the Bloody Disentary [sic] but is getting better.  Peter is feeling better than he has since he’s been there except for the cold weather.  “I cant stand the cold weather like I used to”.  Has a fireplace inside the tent now.  Doesn’t hear anything about renewing the battle at Fredericksburgh. 

 

“There is going to be a general Court Martial in our Regt on the acount [sic] of deserting in front of the Enemy”.  Names Tom Kirkland (no one has seen him) and Mike Keating (left but came back).  “I was coward enough but I wouldent [sic] have the name if I had got killed in the Battle yes I and fletch stood ready to go anywhere but either one of us would of rather been somewhere else…We are expected to be paid off every day since the fight and we haven’t got it yet I have got fifty cents left and I think that will do me untill [sic] I get paid off.”  

 

Hasn’t heard from her, thinks she doesn’t write as much as she used to, begs her to write.  Asks if she will have enough money:  “…tell our folks I think they are very kind for giving away to let us in the house and not asking any more for it than they do”.  Hasn’t heard from father or Bill.  “…tell me if the Children grows any and if Ida and Charley has such times as they used to have if they do I think it will try your Paitience [sic]”.  Asks her to take care of herself:  “I would not want to see you Worn out to a shadow”.  Tell Sarah Groff [?] she may thank the Lord that her Jake never came with us, he misses the poor fellow very much and thinks he’s better off.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek near Fredericksburgh, December 23 1862

 

Tells her how much he counts on her letters, loves her, “I am glad now that I am placed amongst Dangers that I can look back and see how Peaceful and Quiet we have lived together and enjoyed each others society so long without trouble and strife”.  Almost as warm as summer.  Everyone is hoping for a Christmas box but he doesn’t know what to say because some boxes have sat in Washington for six weeks.  Buried two more comrades with proper boards telling their name and age.

 

“We heard on dress Parade the Punishment some of our Boys has got to take that was Court Martiald [sic] on November 30th they have got to cary [sic] a log weighing 30 pounds for 30 days from morning until [sic] night and forfeit 5 dollars of their Monthly Pay for 3 months because they dident [sic] turn out on Review on the 26 of last month there was some 6 or 7 of them but thank the Lord Dear Clara I am not one of them”.   Tom is doing better but wishes for letters from home.  “Dear Clara I wonder if they talk as much about Peace at home as they do here in Camp we are all the time talking about Peace down here but don’t seem to be settleing [sic] it very fast.  Rumor that they might go to Alexandria for winter quarters.  Rumors of peace vs. fight “keep up a Perpetual Excitement”.  Asks about children and family, for her to kiss the little ones often and tell them he is coming home so they won’t forget him.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Fredericksburgh, December 25 1862

Christmas after Dark, By Candle Light

 

Has been on guard all day since last night.  His health is good but Tom is not any better.  The weather was like summer.  They had fresh beef and whiskey for Christmas, he ate the beef but traded his whiskey for tobacco.  Most others got the day off and could walk around at will visiting.  Buried 5 more comrades and thinks there will be many more.  He saw Ed Lomis for the first time since Fredericksburgh and he looks so bad he doesn’t think he’ll make it.  It seems hard to see so many die when they could be sent home to recover.  “ There seems to be some kind of disease here that takes a person very sudden and I don’t beleive [sic] the docters [sic] understand it or how to cure it one and all agree that it is so much exposure to this kind of weather”.    Sending her two more drawings he made “a day or two ago by myself they represent the Places I made them for to life.”   Says he sent a number before and she never mentions them so he doesn’t know if she got them but please save them until he gets home.

 

While writing another man died in the hospital and three deserters were brought in by the Provo guard, including Edgar Davis of their company who deserted about a month ago.  Hank Baker is very sick with fever.  He has written 6 or 7 letters since the Battle of Fredericksburgh and gotten none from her.  Gives love to all and wishes them a merry Christmas.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek Va., December 28 1862

 

Most are sick with colds and disease.  Fletcher got a letter from his brother David saying that no one has heard from the Regiment since the Battle of Fredericksburgh and he assumes she hasn’t gotten any of his letters and he hasn’t heard from her in so long.  Tell Julia that Tom is improving slowly.  Today another is buried from Company F “but I don’t know his name there is so many dying here that it would take most all of ones time to keep track of them Poor Ed Lomis I don’t think will ever see his Sarah again he is most gone…out of eight-hundred and sixty men that we drawed rations for at Camp Seward we now have five hundred and sixty that we draw rations for and the number is diminishing very fast ever day we have not got an officer that we enlisted under in Utica in our Company…. Second Lieut Durgee of Company I has been appointed over Lieut Jones in our Company as Captain and the orderly Sergeant of Company  E has been promoted in Lieut Stanfords Place”.  Describes more about Jones and Stanford.  Nine promotions in the Regt but none in the Company.  Everyone feels bad the officers they enlisted under are gone but “we can safely lay the blame on Capt Cones shoulders if he had staid with us as he agreed” they would hae all their officers and be better off.  They end up being assigned to the Center of the Regiment instead of on the right.  “I heard yesterday morning that the Col had reported us unfit for Duty at head Quarters we are drilling on guard duty what little we drill now and the soldiers think we are going somewhere on guard duty”.  “I send you some drawings of Camp life keep them for me the tent on the left is the kind that we now live in.”

 

 

 

[1863]

 

[1858][1862][1863][1864][1865] [1880]

 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Near Falmouth Va., January 4, 1863 Sunday

 

Is well.  “I have at last heard from you and oh I was most tickeled [sic] to death to hear from you and that you was all well.”  Tell Julia Tom is very sick in hospital and wasted away to almost nothing.  He goes to visit him as often as possible and there is a notice that says no admittance.  Tom doesn’t want him to tell Julia how sick he is for fear she will try to come and there is no place for her to stay.  He hopes he’s not doing wrong telling Clara the truth.

 

“Dear Clara I done something last new years day which I hope I shall never have to do again.  I made a coffin for one of my tent mates Jacob Breish and yesterday I put a head board to his grave he was a good boy and I liked him very much.  I have written to his folks about his illness and death and I suppose by this time they have received the painful news.  Poor fellow he had bright hopes for the future but he said to me in Frederickburgh [sic] that he had given himself up to god and if it was his will he was willing to go but he would rather not die yet he dident [sic] at that time that he would come back in the same camp and die so soon he was onley [sic] sick a very few days I had onley [sic] been in the tent a couple of weeks.  Previous to his death he has wanted to tent with me ever since we left home.” 

 

She had asked who he tents with and he says Joseph Corrigan is the only one left because “fletch and me got divided on the march from Warrington here and we have not been together since although there has not been any trouble between us I like him just as well as ever. Most all of our officers are resigning and by the time you get this there will be about 15 of them that has left us since we left rome.”  Sending another picture of winter quarters that looks better than the original.  Asks if Willie walks, poor little fellow, wants to see him.

 

“Let me know in your next letter how Bill came to work in the observer office.”  Hurt his back when a log he was carrying fell on it.  “You musent [sic] think it is so easy to get clear from here as you think for a man has got to be half way in the grave before they let him go.  I tell you there is no sympathy for a sick man here at all he has got to stand up untill [sic] he falls down and then they will pick him up to fall down again.”

 

John W. Breish to [Peter L. Dumont?], Utica, [N.Y.], January 6th, 1863

 

Thanking someone, probably Peter, for kindness to brother and feels he can’t risk going behind the lines to get his body back  “…but I think even if I went and could get him he would not keep as the weather is so warm… if I can in any way benefit you I would gladly do it.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek, Va., Sunday Evening, January 11, 1863

(December crossed out in date)

 

Got her letter and one from Breish.  Is well, was on guard all night and day at Gen. Warren’s headquarters.  Fried pork then used grease and cotton rag to make a candle to write by.  “Last night there was a woman by our camp fire all night she was driven by a lot of drunken soldiers to take refuge in our camp in order to save her person.  Believe me dear Clara for I speak the truth she is the first woman that I have spoken to in Virginia.  She belongs to the 17th Regulars and she is called the daughter of the Regt.”.

 

Last Thursday the whole 5th Corp went on review, wishes she could see it:  “…such a black field of moving mass I never saw the men were about fifty abreast and in an oblong column it took them about an hour to pass Gen Burnside and staff.  He sat on his horse with his head uncovered all the time the old fellow looks just as I expected to see him.  He is a good looking man of about 35 or 40 years of age but there is no hair on the top of his head but there is plenty around his face to make up for the top of his head”.

 

More officers from Utica resigning including Captain [doge?] of Co. F and Capt Lewis of Co C, Lieut Stanford and Lieut Jones of C A and Lieut Alden of Co C and Lieut Wilson of Co H.  “This I believe makes 17 or 18 officers that have left us since we left Rome and if they keep on the same we won’t have any that came with us six months from the time we left there”.  Tell Julia Tom isn’t any better but the doctors think he is getting better.  “…tell Jacob Breishs folks if you see them that I have sent quite a number of small trinkets home that belonged to him by Lieut Stanford and he may forget to give them to them  I thought they would be glad to have them.  His clothes I took and buried [sic] on account of the fever in them…” 

 

More talk of attacking Fredericksburgh “but I guess it is a camp runner as usual.  Dear Clara how much I dream of you and home of late I see little ida in my dreams almost every night oh god how long I am afraid it will be before I hear her little Pratling [sic] tounge [sic] and the Tip tap of her little feet again.  I see now that I am away from you all how dearly I loved you.  Oh I pray god stop this horrible work of death and let us return to those we love and who are anxiously watching for our safe return.  Dear Clara if god spares my life to return once more to you I mean to live a better man.  I see the effects of this war so much every day that it has impressed my mind with a horrible sickness of it god grant that it will soon end all the soldiers down here sick enough of Fighting to stop on any terms.”  Closing, then p.s. hoping they will be paid off the 15th of the month.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek, Va., January 17, 1862 [sic – should be 1863]

 

Got the money Julia and Clarinda sent, took it and bought tobaco [sic] with it but he can't give Tom his money because Tom has gone to an unknown hospital with "the Black toungue" [sic]. The order is now that they will go in the morning in light marching orders. The opinion is they are going in another fight. They got extra rounds of Catriges [sic] and are going to leave the tents where they are. The 5th New York [Zouaves] are going to occupy their hospital for 7 days for their sick. He comforts Clara with religious references and then says "I would gladly come back if I onley [sic] could but I am in a tight place just now....Take good care of your self and the Children for my sake and I will try to do the same for yourn [sic]. God bless and Protect you my onley [sic] loved one untill [sic] I see you again. Kiss my little lambs for me as often as you can." Adds a page with a poem and postscript.:

 

"As I walk the sentinel's midnight beat

I think thou art always nigh

My prayers and thoughts are all of thee

My only love good by (original) "

"P.S. The statement of Capt. [More? Could be Cone?] is a correct one. There is no boards to be got. To make a coffin of the one I made for Jacob [Breish] was of 3 hard tack boxes fastend [sic] together by poles under the bottom. Wesley can tell you all about it better than I can in this letter. P.L.D. There is a good many buried without coffins."

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek, [Va.], Sunday Evening, January 25, 1863

 

Is well but tired.  Last Tuesday made another move toward enemy and was guarding General Warren’s headquarters.  “The night before we started without any sleep and last night and to day [sic] again and the Excitement and Fatigue of marching through mud up to the knees most every step without a heavey [sic] Rain to accompany [sic] it makes us feel all feel Pretty much used up but I couldent [sic] go to bed to night [sic] without writeing [sic] to you.” 

 

Was building roads and digging out of mud “…I tell you it was the greatest thing you ever saw we made out to get within about 2 miles of the river and there sunk in the mud the Rebels were on the opposite side to give us another warm Reception.  Some said that saw them that they diden’t [sic] want to hurt us but if we molested them that they would give us another warmer like that of frederickburgh [sic].  Our pickets said that they (the Rebels) would moition [sic] with one hand to come across and with the other they would slap the But [sic] of the Cannon the Rebel Pickets told ours that gen Lee sent down word that if we wanted any help to lay our pontoons across he would send us 2 or 3 Regiments he could spare them just as well as not from Wednesday morning until yesterday there was nothing spoken of or heard except a continual curing of old Burnside he has lost more horses and men by this moven han we have through the whole war by marching.  Every soldier that I talked with swore up and down that he would never cross that river again under Burnside as long as he lived”.  They estimate they have lost 40 or 50 thousand men. “It seems as if the soldiers has about made up their minds to settle this war themselves there were whole Divisions that never lost a man before by Desertion that lost nearly half this time they are going to leave just the same every time the army moves they wont fight for the niger [sic] any ways and they haven’t received any pay in so long and the news has reached them that their folks and famiys [sic] are going to the Poor house and they have become Completely Demoralised.”

 

Thanks her for her letter saying she sent turkey and pie but thinks it is a waste which is why he hasn’t asked for a box, everything comes spoiled.  But he would be happy for something good to eat…”I think I have eaten my share of hard tack and Salt Pork here and on salt water both.  I wish many a time Dear Clara for one of your good meals…You will see by this letter that we escaped another great battle and returned safely back to our old Quarters again.  We owe it all to a heavey [sic] Rain Storm and a kind an Benofishent [sic] Providence.  It does seem as if our cause was not a just one and the soldiers have adopted that Belief [sic] firmly since the battle of Frederickburgh [sic].  I think the state of feelings that Prevail at present throughout the whole armey [sic] of the Potomac is a death blow to our side and to the Union I firmly believe [sic] that our soldiers can never be made to win another battle they say this war has become a nigger and Polittical [sic] war changed from what it was at first Entirely it is awful to hear Curses upon Curses falling upon Lincoln and Hallecks head very hour of the day things has got to Change most wonderfully and that very Quick to hold this armey [sic] together much longer.  I don’t know but what you will think I am a secessionist [sic] but the State of things are as I represent without exaggerating [sic] it at all.  I am not gifted with words to express enough the true state feeling that exist and the glaring fact but enough of this I will stop telling the truth because it may not interest you as much as some others.  Our Regiment Dear Clara which left Rome a little over 4 months ago with about nine hundred men is now reduced to about 3 hundred and I hardley  [sic] believe [sic] since this last move we could number that amount”.

 

Got the money she sent and he still had Tom’s money but doesn’t know where to send it.  Hasn’t heard from Tom since he went to the hospital and doesn’t know where that is.  Thinks he is in Washington.  Got 2 papers, one with tea in it.

 

“Oh I pray they will soon end this war and let us come home where our hearts and mind is on and not on the battle field there was a time when our men were fighting for the Union but that has all Passed away now and their minds are bent now altogether on going home.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., January 27, 1862 [sic – should be 1863]

 

Tells about doing laundry and how some of the men have lice from not keeping themselves clean.  Says he looks about the same but not as fleshy and white.  Fletch cut Peter’s hair and there was a lot of gray.  Worries about ever getting home due to sickness and the battlefield, perhaps he shouldn’t have enlisted but it’s too late now.  Maybe God sent him there for a reason and he will “look with Bright hopes for the future”.  Talks about gloves, socks, pants, and shoes.  Says he doesn’t think he’ll be made an officer although they told him he’ll be made a Corporal which will relieve him of a little extra duty.  Asks about family members.  Wants to come home.  Describes men being buried without coffins or ceremony.  Talks about generals being “beastly drunk”, General Warren could barely sit on his saddle during a march.  “Licor” has been given out twice and he gave his away.  Thinks they are going to move again.  Asks God to watch over the family.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Falmouth Va., Friday, January 30th, 1863

 

Received the box  she and Julia sent in good order but can’t send anything to Tom.  He took all his things out except half the turkey and nailed it back up and brought it to the doctor who said there was no sense in sending it because it might be sent half way then sit for six months.  He got to have a long talk with the doctor who said “Tom went away from here with the remitant Fever and was turning in the Typhoid and if he got over that down here in this climate he would be lucky and his chances were better for going home than if he got over it than they were for coming back here again”.  Apologizes repeatedly to Julia: “I would rather he would have them all if I could onely [sic] get them to him than ever taste a bit myself rather than ever be blamed afterwards the things are all in the box nailed up yet except my part hoping that I will yet get a chance to send it to him but I think I will risk that money in a letter to him tomorrow.”

 

Got six inches of snow but won’t trouble her with his troubles because she probably has enough of her own.  He is very healthy now.  “We got paid off last night after dark and I will send you 40 dollars in allotment Papers one of them is from my tent mate mr Joseph Corrigan and he wants you should keep it 6 or 7 days or untill [sic] his aunt Mrs. Margaret Corrigan calls for it he will write for her to come there and get it. She is in Clayville and he thinks it is the best way to get it.  Toms money cant be got now they tell me untill [sic] next Pay day with them Checks I send by Mr Deming.  I also send a [Port monic?] taken from Frederickburgh [sic] with some catriges [sic] and musket caps”.  She can take the check to the bank, the money he had coming was 30 dollars and 30 cents so she can see he has 10 dollars left, discusses other money.  Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Falmouth Va., January 31st, 1862 [sic – should be 1863]

 

Replying to letter he received from her last night although he wrote yesterday.  Went early this morning to the Colonel and applied for a pass to go to Acquia Creek and this time was not refused.  “I shall start early tomorrow morning to go there if I am well and alive although it be a hard days work for me I guess I can stand it I suppose it is about 30 miles there and back and such going as it is now will make it seem like fifty so you can tell Julia that Tom shall have his things after all I have put the things in 2 haversacks and one on each shoulder I will go trudgeing [sic] along through the mud.”  Has sent back 2 checks by Mr. Deming, one for Joseph Corrigan his tent mate for his aunt Miss Margaret Corrigan, and a pocket book with musket caps and cartridges taken at Fredericksburgh.

 

“This morning I was made a fourth sargent [sic] in our Company so you see I will be releived [sic] from a great deal of Extra Duty besides getting More Pay my wages now are 17 dollars a month.  I am sorry you feel so bad every time there is talk of a Battle although I suppose you cant be blamed for it if it had not of been for the mud I think there would have been a great many of us slaughtered by this time but keep up your Courage and Hope for the Best.  Gen Hooker has not been in any Engagement lately at all and I cant see what the Papers took it from and you spoke about fletch and the Barber Business tell Sarah I have not bought any of them tools and he fletch Denies the Statement of saying he wanted six dollars for them he has not sold them to anybody although most of them is gone I can’t say where we never went into the Barber Business at all because we never had time.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Monday, February 2nd, 1863

 

Is well, went to general Hospital and found Tom looking pretty good only very weak and “tickeled [sic] most to death to see me and those things from home he says he thinks he will live now he has got all his things now and them 2 dollars he has got also.  Poor Lumbard Tell his wife I found him in a sad state he cant get off his bed anymore”.  Tell his wife “I gave him a couple of letters sent down by me and if she thinks of coming down to see him she will find him at the general Hospital on Wind mill Point about 2 ½ miles from Acquia Creek Landing. George Wheeler is getting fat as a Pig and he feels Tip top he says he is satisfied Uncle Sam has got to pay him 13 dollars a month for doing nothing.  Tom Wheeler sent a dollar by me to give to him”.  He had a good excursion, was at Acquia Creek a half day and bought “some apples and Pie and Cake Cheese and warm Buiskit [sic] but mind you we had to pay for it.  Besides having a Bully Ride on the Cars there and Back again I guess I was at the Hospital 2 or 3 hours and in that short space of time I saw about 20 dead bodies carried along there is about 5 thousand in the Hospital at that Place Every Thing is Comfortable Clean and Neat Every one has his own Bed to sleep on made of Iron and about 3 feet from the ground With Plenty of Blankets to Cover them.  They have a Christian society meet there most every night Praying and singing for them that with to hear them.  My Sargentcy [sic] commences with the first of this month so you see I am getting 17 dollars a month now oh how I did Wish when I got on the cars yesterday that they wouldent [sic] stop until [sic] they got in Utica”. Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., February 7th, 1863

 

Suffering from a severe cold.  Just came back from picket, snow and heavy rain for a week, cold and wet with no house or tent, they suffered.  Tasted Virginia hoe cake for first time which was pretty good since they had “lived on Uncle Sam’s hard tack so long most anything is palateable,” gives recipe.  Comments on friends or relatives back home.  Their Colonel is now acting as Brigadier General since Warren has been assigned command of the Division. Peter is now a commissioned officer and “Can’t resign just yet.”  Rumor of another movement.  The men all long for peace, are “sick and tired out and see no use of fighting any more.”  Closes by saying he’s going to bed because he has been sitting up in the rain all night for a week and hasn’t slept much.  Wishes family well and says “I will bid you good night and retire to my soft bed on the hard ground and quickly fall asleep.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Thursday February 19th, 1863 

 

Is well, 4 inches of snow then heavy rain turned into mud.  Tom is back and looking better than he has since he got to Virginia. Tom is wondering “why Mr. William Jones don’t write to him and me.  I for my part shall never write him another Letter as long as I live until [sic] I get one from him.  I should think at home where everything is handy to sit down to a table and write he might easily of answered one of my letters but if he don’t care for me I don’t for him.  I write a great many letters here at a great Inconvenience.  I have to sit down and take a Board on my lap Instead of sitting at a table.  Dear Clara I have commenced going to school again we have Sargents Call here ever morning at ten o clock and we have to get a lesson and recite it before the Lieut Col it seems quite Naturel [sic] to go to school again only if you were here to go with [sic] me it would seem more Naturel [sic] you know you used to go to School with me once I can Remember how you used to look with your little bare feet Pattering along the Road but those Days are gone Dear Clara and we have seen happier ones and I pray to the good god that gave us Existience [sic] we may see them once more”.

 

Col has gone to Washington on furlough for a week and some think he has gone to pick out a place there for them.  Rumor that they will go back to Washington and the Army of the Potomac may be broken up.  “We are Detailed or rather about 60 of our Regt is Every Morning to build fortifycations [sic] between here and Acquia Creek.  People assume they will fall behind it and take transports back to Washington.  Mr. Demming has not arrived yet, they have been expecting him for a few days.  Fletch got some things that were sent down by Tom Gray.  “He told me there was no gloves sent to me in that package.  Dear Clara I don’t wish you should send me anything more by Demming he charges to [sic] much and I can get along without those things very well”.  Lengthy closing signed “Your Husband Peter L.D. soldier of the Potomac”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Sunday February 22nd, 1863

[sketch of winter scene on Potomac]

 

Is well.  Cold and clear last night but six inches snow in morning and “so cold it is impossible to keep warm you see we have got these goverment [sic] shoes and the minuet [sic] we step in the snow our feet is wet.”  Tom is fit for duty, looks better but says he doesn’t feel well.  Most of the boys were on detail yesterday building forts and today the snow is so deep and it’s so far to go for wood that most don’t have wood and are suffering from the cold.  “We have to carry all our wood on our backs and go about a mile after it and lug it up a pretty steep hill at that it makes pretty hard work for us although when we first came in camp here the woods was thick and close to us but there are so many of us that they clear off a large piece of woods in a small time.”

 

Excitement an hour ago when it sounded like the boom and rattle of a thousand cannons and everyone thought the enemy was coming which they couldn’t believe because of the snow.  “But soon the word came that it was washington [sic] Birthday and that soon quieted the minds of them very quick they had forgot all about the 22nd entirely.

 

Resumes writing on Monday.  He almost froze one of his fingers yesterday afternoon when he went for wood and one finger was sticking out of his glove.  It turned all white but seems all right.  Joe Durgen from Utica came Saturday night and said the winter hasn’t been any worse up north than here.  Mr. Deming has not arrived yet.  Mr. Dennison the shoemaker was there Saturday morning and he said Deming was still in Washington trying to get transportation.  The men are still going off by sickness and death and it’s not much better than before.  He wrote a letter for Tom to Julia and will send it with this letter.  “Dear Clara we suffer from cold weather a great deal here you see our little tents are not any bigger than a table cloth and are not any thicker than a Cotton hankerchief [sic] the cold and snow blows rite [sic] through them but I must close”.  Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], [Undated and No Location, probably right after he took turkey box to Tom in hospital February 2, 1863, and just before his first reference to Julia being upset on March 1, 1863]

 

“Dear Clara

Julia wrote to tom that you had a Lot of money given to you in that ward and I Can hardley [sic] Credit it or you would of wrote something to me about it I should think  She says you can afford to buy Turkeys  there seems to be a misunderstanding about that Box  it was a luckey [sic] thing that he got any of it at all   I had given up all hopes of his getting it when the thought struck me that I might get a furlough to go to him  if I had not done so he would not got any  I would rather he would have had the whole Box than she should be [p.2] Dissatisfied  when you write again Please give me the Partickulars [sic] about it from yours truly [sic] Peter. L. Dumont.

Julia thinks i feel big since I am sargeant [sic] but you can tell her I have not growed any since I have been in Virginia Pete

 

Clarinda Dumont

Utica

Please foward [sic]

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek, Va., Sunday, March 1, 1862 [sic – should be 1863]

 

Has severe diarrhea and has lost a lot of weight as begins letter, but resumes writing on Monday March 2 and feels a little better.  Demming was there the day before.  Dave Reese saw Peter and hardly knew him.  Hopes they don’t have to stay 3 years as Clarinda had mentioned, but says they will have to stay at least that long “if they mean to carry this thing through until they lick the south.”When they were on picket they captured rebel soldiers and they were better dressed than Peter’s regiment.  He had “quite a Talk with them….they were Inteligent [sic] and talked fight right in your face while they are a prisoner they are grit to the Back Bone….and they said they would fight harder now since abe issued [sic] that procklamation [sic].” He is concerned that Julia is upset with him; she accused him of being too big to help Tom now that he is a sergeant and of not sharing his turkey and fair share of a box that Julia and Clarinda went halves on.  Peter denies this and says he does all he can to help Tom.  Asks how much money Clarinda got from “that ward” which Julia wrote to him about.  Likes the neck tie Clarinda sent “first rate”.  Best wishes to her and his little ones.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., March the 4th, 1863

[eagle with shield red and blue letterhead]

 

Is well.  “This morning I have sent that great pipe home to you hopeing [sic] it will reach you all right it has been the work of my own hands and the pastime of many lonely hours of my soldiers life and I think I have wiled them away advanteousty [sic].”  Everyone in the Regiment says his is the best yet.  He has been offered 9 and 10 dollars for it time again and maybe he should have sold it but wants her to see it.  He made it with just a large jackknife.  He could make a dozen and sell them to the officers but he wants to come home and use it himself  “if they will onley [sic] settle this foolish war”.  Is sending her 75 cents in this letter “which has been earnt by a jack knife and a whittleing [sic] yankee and that is myself they call me so sometimes down here because I am a whittleing [sic] something all the time”.  He made the stem from a laurel bush and the bowl from the root.  He’s sending it by Sergeant Major Mr. Wright who is going home on furlough.  Wants her to write when she gets it because so many people have wanted it that he thinks she’ll never get it.  Everyone is anxious for peace.  It rains or snows every other day and is cold.  If she hasn’t sent the gloves yet don’t send them because he has a good pair now that the company got a box from Camden.  His old ones were worn out.  Wants her to watch her health and that of the children because whenever he hears they are sick he thinks about it for days.

 

and now I must close hopeing [sic] that the giver of all good is watching over you and my blessed little lambs.  Dearest Clara kiss them often for me and tell them of their Pa who is far away and would gladly come and kiss them if he could but god wills it not yet and now hopeing [sic] to hear from you soon I remain your Companion you [sic] fond and loveing [sic] until Death - Peter L. Dumont”.  P.S. Tom is well and on duty, tents with Ed Burbrige [?] who got a box and is living high off it.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek, Va., Tuesday March 10th 1863

 

Sends a detailed drawing of soldiers drilling in camp under a flowery archway with an A, eagle, and banner, with the note: "Co A 140 Regt NYSV". Says they have been fixing up the camp. They were measured for a Zouave uniform. "Most of the boys swear they will never wear them big pants but millatary [sic] power can make a man do almost anything down here." They don't want to buy new uniforms because they are expensive and his current clothes are in good shape. Some of the boys are working on "them forts" which are almost done. Spring has come but it makes him sad to be away from home and today it's snowing. They have orders to go on picket again soon and he hopes it won't be as bad as last time. Tom wouldn't let him read Julia's letter, probably "on account of that lot of money and that turkey." Tom complains of a pain in his breast and doesn't do much duty; "all the boys call him a dead beat on the goverment [sic] because he looks healthier than he did when he came down here." He has a new acquaintance in the Regiment: "[bates?] tylers Brother". Tyler was wounded in the Battle of Fredricksburgh and is hospitalized. Peter saw Sarah's brother: "He has got to be a great big man and as grey as a rat."

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., March 13th, 1862 [sic – should be 1863]

 

Going on picket tomorrow and doesn’t know when he’ll be able to write again.  “We have got Orders to lay in our arms now all night they say the Rebels are all around us they have tried to break through our picket lines quite a number of times.  I think before long we will have a fine time of it or else a hard one Every thing begins to look like a move they have been giving [sic] us an Extra supply of Catriges [sic] and we are to have a general inspection in a day or two.”  The 4th Oneida has orders to join the Army of the Potomac, they have been trying to get there all winter but he thinks they won’t want to be there long “… they dont realize I think what actual service is I guess one or two battles would satisfy them for a while and they would soon wish themselves back in washington again.”  Many are being discharged “amongst them is old fordis phelps he got as lousey as he could before he went away.”  Is waiting to hear if she got the pipe.

 

“I would like to know what the people say about the Conscription law it will go very hard with some of them I think espesialy [sic] with the poorer class you had better believe the 14 boys feel good they have onley [sic] got one month more to stay”.  He’s only been gone 7 months but it seems like a year.  He hopes she isn’t short on money  “…if I thought you would suffer on that account I would be tempted to desert and run my chance and come home although Them that goes is most sure to get catched and brought back”.  Tom says the doctor told him his heart was affected, he loaned Tom money for tobacco.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Saturday March 21, 1863

 

“The first of this week our Caverly [sic] and artillery [sic] had quite a fight on the Raphanock River and we were expecting to be called out every moment and this morning there has been Considerable Sharp fireing [sic] Close by us and we haven’t heard yet what it was we was Expected to go out Every minute but is is all stoped [sic] now”.  Snowing. Skirmishing and raids all around but the 146th has nothing to do with them.  Rigging and fixing up the camp as though they are going to stay but he thinks they will have to move soon,

 

“This morning the Regt. Was marched up by Companies to The Hospital to be vaxinated [sic] for the small Pox theysay there is a great many cases all around us of that kind and if it once gets a hold of the armey [sic] it will sweep threw [sic] faster than the bullet can.”  The Captain told Tom he was going to try to get him home because his heart has been affected and he is off duty again.  Peter wants Clara to go stay with “our folks” if she can: “I shall be more Contented if I knew you are there if you and Julia went together it wouldent [sic] be but a little while before Every thing would go wrong and I have often heard my mother say she could live with you untill [sic] she died and I think if you ight happen to get sick you would get more kindness from my mother than you would get from your own sister although I know it is saying a great deal about her.  But it is Tom’s wishes all the time that you will both go to keeping House together.  I think Dear Clara you must be as Poor as a Crow by this time if you have nursed that boy all winter but I suppose you know best about such things better than I do.  I wish he would grow fast enough to come down here and lick the Southern Giant and then perhaps I might get home I wish you would gell george if he comes home to writ to me.”  Peter doesn’t know where to direct letters to George.  “I suppose you would rather see me than him but with our folks it wont make much differance [sic] he has been away alongtime now and you must all be glad to see him if he is clear of the draft never to come down here because he will be sorry if he does all his life perhaps I was never made for a soldier and cant bear to be one its something else besides playing up soldier on 4 of July as you see them in Utica.  It is so much excitement here from morning till night I cant take a moment of comfort that fife and Drum and the Bugle is enough to make one crazy and then [?] they are what leads you on to Death or Victory and they have become so odious that the boys swear every time they come out.”

 

He says her letters are good and that he used to laugh at her spelling at home so “you must not blame me if I comit [sic] the same fault now it is a natueral [sic] complaint of mine and I can’t help it.”  He says he feels bad Sarah can’t find relief from her sorrows and to tell her she has his sympathy and love as a true friend.  He wishes Clara were living with Sarah.  “I think if Jake had lived and come with me here we should of grown more and more atached [sic] to one another…. Dear Clara I suppose you woul be very glad to see me but I wish you would give up the idea of jumping over the old marble block for fear of hurting your ) [half circle like a closed parenthes].   I wont tell you now and then what would be good for you must Excuse my Blackgarding Dear but you yourself now that would hurt and that would hurt me just the same as you self”.  Give his love to father and mother and all the folks.  It has been six months they have been separated.  Hopes the war would settle this Spring and he would feel better about staying until then.  Lengthy romantic religious closing.  P.S. Asks her to send a little of each red, white, and blue sealing wax, and a little piece of sandpaper in each letter as big as the letter, not very coarse: “middleing”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Monday March 23th, 1863

[rough sketch of eagle with banner]

 

Thinks they are on the verge of a Battle because they’ve been ordered to be ready with 8 days of rations.  Every one who didn’t have a knapsack has been ordered to get one and carry his grub on his back with no tents or clothes and take nothing but a blanket.  “There is no wagons going with us and but two pack mules to cary [sic] the Officers things.  This morning the Docter [sic] would not excuse anybody he has ordered one man that walks on crutches his name is bright to report for duty.  We have got lots of cripels [sic] some of them pretty bad and they have all been put in the ranks again.  Some say they are going to Fredericksburg.  “…excuse this short letter oh my Dearest and onley [sic] one on Earth that I love.  I shall Confide the keeping of you and my little ones in the care of god and if it is the lot that god has set aside for me to be shot on the filed of battle then try and live a true and Christian Wife and bring our children up in the fear of the Lord I pray every night just before I go to sleep for your welfare and safe keeping…”Continues closing.  Says his arm hurts from being vaccinated.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Wednesday [sic] March 25th, 1863

 

Still in old camp but thinks they are preparing to move.  Having inspection today and every man has to carry 40 rounds of cartridges.  “Last night our picket line was attacked all over the long [Road?] was beat and troops were sent out to strengthen the lines to night but none of us were into it our Col laid awake all night last night our Officers seem to be afraid of some thing…. My opinion is that Lees men will fight us for a little while at Fredericksburg and then fall back on Richmond and then I think we will have to follow him up and when we have got as near there as they want us to get they will show us what they want that is to coax us near Richmond and then send a heavy force in our rear and Destroy the Rail Road and cut off our suplies [sic] and fight us from both sides and then hurah [sic] for another great Union Victory .  I tell you I don’t Predict the future very often but if Joe Hooker crosses the Rappahanock River with the intention of taking Richmond mark my words if they dont come true strategy has been their plan of fighting all the time and they will use it now they used it at Fredericksburg [sic] with good success and our Generals couldent [sic] see it”.  Some of their boys went out on picket to fill up a Brigade that was “defisient [sic]”, eight out of each Company.  “We heard how Demming went home and reported our Regt the Dirtiest and the Lousiest one in the service and more he has reported us totally demoralized and I don’t believe they are any more lousey [sic] than some other Regs down here and as for being Demoralized it is the feeling of all the men in the armey [sic] they would all gladly come home if they could.  He has just come into camp and the Boys hooted and holered [sic] after him awful. “

 

They have just been ordered for the first time that no one is to leave camp without the permission of the Commander.  They act as if the Rebs are close.  Lengthy romantic, religious closing.  George Bates has just heard that his mother is dead “he feels awful bad for such a wild fellow”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Falmouth, Va., Saturday March 28th, 1863

[letterhead red and blue eagle with shield]

 

Got a letter from “joey” who said not to desert and come home “but when I read her letter I had a mind to desert and come home for all her advice.  She said that you had a bean regular every Sunday night but come to find out she is a split tail like herself his name she says is Mrs. Sarah Graff you must be carful [sic] or else you might get into trouble with such a bean.  I have had one of the same kind call upon me the other day her name was Mr George Reiser he came and took dinner with me he looks the same as ever onley [sic] his front teeth is most all gone I wonder how Josey would like to see her old flame again he asked about her and why she never answered his many letters.”

 

They had a review and another is ordered for today but he thinks they won’t have it because it is raining too hard.  Rumor that “if Hooker crossed the River the fifth Armey [sic] Corps would remain where they are to hold Acuia Creek and we are in that Corp.  some of the 14thboys came over to our Corp after Review and they said the 146 Beat all the rest of the troops on marching we were reviewed close by their Camp we had the worst Batalion [sic] Drill yesterday we ever had some mistake that our officers made while on Review made our Col so mad that Imeadiately [sic] after arriveing [sic] in Camp he ordered a Batation [sic] Drill.  I tell you he gave us a sweater he said while drilling us that the men were not to blame it was the Officers and he wanted to see them do Better. “  Puts the letter aside and comes back to say they had to go for wood down at Potomac Creek and it was raining so hard “the men were swearing like Pirates because they had to go in the Rain the Boys have it prety [sic] hard now there is drill twice a day and wood to be got Policeing the Camp grounds so it hardley [sic] gives them any time to themselves they have to go about a mile after wood and back it up a pretty steep hill it is for the Captain and Company Cooks.”  The health of the Regiment is good.  They hear they will get four months pay in a day or two.  He wants to know how she gets along for money.  “I am dreadfuly [sic] afraid you are Pinching yourself I wonder if the Children would know me if they could see me now that is what makes me feel very bad to think if Ever I live to come out of this Cruel war my Children will not know me yet I have some hopes that Ida will remember me if I had onley [sic] of known that they want a going to draft I should have been to home this day with my loved ones”. 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp on Potomac Creek, Va., Saturday April 4th, 1863

[Sketch of Duryea Zoauves was originally attached with a very old paper clip, and is mentioned in P.S.]

 

Just came in from picket for four days and half that time they had nothing to eat.   “I was sent back to Camp with nine men to get rations for the men on Picket and just as I got the men all ready to start back on the Picket line again he Col sent for the Sergent [sic] and I had to go to his tent and such a mad man I hardley [sic] ever saw he told me to leave Camp imeadiately [sic] and not to take any Rations with me so you see we had to go Unload our Haversacks again and he told the Officer of the day to search us to see that we took nothing back this is about the worst thing I have seen the old fellow do but you see he couldent [sic] blame me for I had a pass given me by one of our Captains and signed by the Commander of the left wing of the picket line”.  Weather was nice while they were gone but cold last night and they didn’t feel afraid of being attacked by the Rebs this time.

 

“I had Command of 15 of the Duryea Zouaves on my post and they are a good set of fellows as Ever I saw.”  Apologizes for not writing but they had been ordered out suddenly.  “…the Pontoons have all gone down to the River and the next thing that goes I suppose will be the men but I hear that our Corps is not a going they are going to hold this Place against an attack from the Rebels.  Somebody has got to stay and it may be that we are the luckey [sic] ones I hope so”.  They have not been paid off yet but are expecting it every day.  “Tom is about the same yet he don’t drill or do any thing else.  But George Wheeler has been put on Duty again”.  Lengthy religious closing.

 

“P.S. I will send you a small Picture of where I was on Picket with the Deryea [sic] Zouaves”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Monday April 6th, 1863

[letter has small crimped seal, no color, hard to tell what it is]

 

Got her letter saying she is well and he is too except for a sore eye he got during a snowball fight between Co. A and Co. H.  Even the officers were throwing snowballs.  “We had orders today to prepare for a review to morrow [sic] by abraham [sic] Lincoln  the Cannons fired like everything to day and I suppose he had just arrived.”  They are still in the same camp.

 

“I have copied a letter to day for your amusement it is supposed to be written [sic] by some young Lady that once lived in Fredericksburg but got married and went to new Orleans and she made a promise with a female friend of hers to let one other into their first night Experience of married life.  I would like to know if the Girls at the north feel the same.  I kind of think it is something similar. I send it to you to Laugh over and when you have read it you can let some of your females [sic] aquiaintences [sic] read it.  But I would like you should keep it for some day if I live I would like to have a laughing spell over it myself.  Please write and let me know what you think of it.  Maybe you may think I was foolish in spending my time with such stuff but I thought it might tickle you some to read it.  I call it quite a treat you might give it to mother to let father read it if you think best I will leave that to your judgement.”  Glad to hear she is well.  “I cant [sic] think of much to write so I guess I will close giveing [sic] you in the care of the almight ywho is wathing [sic] over us all oh how much I love you now I Realy [sic] Beleive [sic]  if I should see that I should Kill you with Kisses the longer I am away onley [sic] tends to Increase your Loveliness to me I was told before I was married that Children increased the Love between Man and wife and I Beleive [sic] it is so for I would not part with neither of you for ten times your weight in gold oh that this Cruel war would onley [sic] end How Happy we Could onely  [sic] live because I always thought you Loved me and that is all I can ask.  I pray Every night for you and my little ones that god will soon join us together again in Happiness good by My Dearest and onley [sic] loved one.  Write soon your Husband Pete.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Thursday April 9th, 1863

 

Is well, in same Camp, no more rumors of moving.  “There will be a grand move I think before we hardley [sic] expect it we had that Grand Review By Abraham Lincoln last Tuesday they say there was 80 thousand troops present we were on the Banks of the Rappahanock and The Rebels were on the other side of it drawn up in line of Battle.  I suppose they thought we were going to Attack them they lay Behind Frederickburg [sic] thick as Ever to judge by their Camps they fired two guns to let us now that they were awake.  Fredericksburg looks forsaken and Dingy Enough now from a distance what a thing this war is Fredericksburg once a thriveing [sic] and well Established City and the oldest one they say in the United States now lies almost Desolate and in Ruins and such marks the tracks of the armey [sic] all over Vigrinaia look where you will nothing meets the Eye But Ruins & Desolation where Houses stood nothing remains but Chimneys to tell there Ever was any and their Occupants have gone mostly all in the Rebel army except the women and Children and they have gone Here and there no one knows Where god help them if they had any influence in Creating this Monstrous Rebelion [sic] for now I think they suffer almost Everything I have seen when we were out on picket some of the little log Houses and their inmates suffering almost Everything little Children scarcely old Enough to know what we were doing down Here were in almost a state of nakedness and in want of something to allay their Hunger poor little things how I did pity them when they would come todeling [sic] through the snow their little bare feet looking like Coals of fire and asking for Hard tacks to stop their hunger who could refuse that had any bit of human feelings left.  I for my part could of given mine willingly and gone without myself just to see them Eat.  I hope Dear Clara never to hear or see you or my little ones suffering as I see them here.  But my telling you of it wont [sic] help it a mite so I will stop.”

 

“Tomorrow we are to have a grand muster to see how strong the armey [sic] of the Potomac is.  We are expecting to be paid off every day But the pay master Doesent [sic] seem to get along yet we have had a sutter [?sic] here for about 3 weeks and the most of the Boys have spent their money before they even got in getting orders on the Captains if I felt like it I might make a good deal of money in making them pictures such as I sent home.  I have made a good many of them already some offer me 50 cents apiece to make them and they will pay me on pay day.  I have got some money comeing [sic] in that way now I have to mark laurel root for almost the whole Regt to whittle on there is some one running to my tent all the time and I am getting tired of it it is all work and no pay”.   Closing.  P.S. written sideways over text of page 4:  “Liet Col White of the 117 was here this afternoon I haven’t learnt whether the Regiment has come or not we Expect them all the time”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Falmouth, Va., Monday April the [sic- long blank area], 1863 [Probably April 13]

 

Hopes the children are better than they were in her last letter.  Regiment is out on picket:  “they went out on Saturday and left me and Lieut Walker in Charge of the Camp we expect them back tomorrow if nothing happens.  Yesterday was a Dreadful warm day it was hard work to keep Comfortable in the shade the mud is pretty near all dried up and the grass looks fresh and green.  Yesterday our division was Recieved [sic] by a foreign General.  He was fixed up in all the grand and most Costley [sic] Uniform you could imagine”.  Tom feels bad because he hasn’t heard from Julia in a month  “…the Docters [sic] Held Quite a Consultation Over him yesterday and I shoulden’t wonder if he got his Discharge”.  Tom is relieved from hard duty.    All the boys talk about is money, some got paid but he doesn’t know when he will get paid, if will be for 4 months.  He won’t get any of his Sergeants pay this time but thinks he can send home $46 which will leave him with only 6 dollars and he’s afraid they won’t get paid for another 4 months.  He got the paper and sealing wax she sent and “that letter you sent with Josephines I have never received”.  He only gets one letter a week and it’s from Clarinda.  Lengthy closing hoping the children are getting better.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Tuesday, April the 14th, 1863

 

On the move, orders to start tomorrow morning with eight days rations, rumor going across the river again, Cavalry is on the move for the last two days and they say they are going across the river.  “I have sent all your letters back for they was to [sic] much for me to carry if we did not have to march I would not send them anyway I have taken a good deal of pleasure in Reading them over when I was lonsome [sic] and sad.  Mr. England took them he has been down to see his sons he starts for home tomorrow morning he keeps a shoe store on Genesee Street.”  Paymaster came but did not pay them off.  God bless her and the children until they are reunited.  Got a letter from “my sister Mally”.  Can’t get his picture taken as she wished because there is nowhere to do it but he would like to see hers and the children’s. “Tom has got to take his gun and go with us But I don’t think he can stand it long.” Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Friday April the 17th, 1863

 

Did not move on account of heavy rainstorm  “So we have been paid off and I will send you 40 Dollars in allotment money  and I will send you six more in the next letter if god spares me to send one by the looks of things here I shouldent [sic] wonder if we went across the river again this morning when we got up we found 2 balloons up over frederickburg [sic] our folks looking for a strike somewhere”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Sunday April the 19th, 1863

 

Got her letter Friday night and was glad to hear the children were better.  “We have not gone yet but they say we are going tomorrow morning they have kept giveing [sic] us our Rations as fast as we Eat them up so we still have 8 days Rations yet and orders to move tomorrow morning to day they are removeing [sic] our sick to washington men that has been in the service for a long time say that this is the most curious move they ever saw.  Everything looks so strange.” 

 

Sent her $40 by mail and hopes she will get it.  “I cant imagine how you got along and have 3 dollars left of that money I sent home.  I am afraid you are liveing [sic] to close you will get as poor as a snale.  I am afraid the next time I send home money I will have quite a little sum. I will draw all Sergeants pay next pay day”.  She wrote that he was in the service six months but he says it has been “now 8 months lacking 3 days and I pray god that it wont be 8 more before I see Home and wife and my Beloved little Children  it seems as if I had been here a year.  You spoke about getting the same usage the poor girl got I think you would have to wait about a week after I got home first you see Hard tack and salt pork don’t make us very anxious for that kind of business it is hard work to know what a hard Jake is at present I think I like the old Red Head as you call him Better Every Day I am with him he is a thorough disciplarian [sic]  and if any body has a mind to they can get along with him first rate.  If the men do wrong they will find him their Equal any day he is a man posessed [sic] of tender feelings of which I know of by is treatment towards our sick men any body that wants to do right and obey him will like him the more they see him.” 

 

There was an awful accident he just went out to see.  “One of our Batteries was out Drilling and an Amunition [sic] Box Blowed up filled with shells 3 men were wounded 2 of [them- sic] mortely [sic] and one not so bad the men all started on the Double Quick thinking the Rebels were attacking us it made a dreadful noise.  I cant see what they were out Drilling for on Sunday perhaps this is a lesson from god to them to abstain from future actions of the same kind”.  Closing.  P.S. will send her his picture if he can get it taken and some money if what he sent before arrives safely.  “I have just heard that Joe Hooker has broke his leg falling from his Horse.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Friday April the 24th, 1863

 

He just returned from picket duty yesterday, was sent out after the rest of the Regiment had started and it was very difficult because it rained all four days.  “We have just heard that Joe Hooker has been relieved of his Command and if true I suppose we will have to stay here some time yet the talk is that  [sic- crossed out “Burns”] Fremont has got the Command of the Armey [sic] of the Potomac.”

 

“Dear Clara last night I received a letter from you stateing [sic] that you had got to move from fathers oh I hope it is not so I think they are onley [sic] trying to plague you or something else of that kind because it is only 3 or 4 weeks ago that they wrote to me that they wouldent [sic] think of you going away.  I hope all may yet be well oh if I was onely [sic] home again how glad I should feel I would dance for joy if they onley [sic] would say that peace was declared.  They say Hooker was relieved of his Command for Refuseing [sic] to cross the Rappahanock at Fredericksburg and also refusing to move the two years men in the armey [sic] are haveing [sic] great times here at present.  Conserning [sic] the two years men the Zouaves and the 14 Riefuse [sic] to move and all the nine months men.”  Hopes she isn’t frightened by the photo he sent, it doesn’t really look like him and he wants to send her a better one.  Is anxious to hear if she got the 40 dollars he sent.  He is sending her two dollars in this letter which is all he can spare because he only has 5 dollars left after getting his picture taken.  He hopes if it doesn’t cost too much she could send one of her and the children to see if they have “altered any” since he left. “I hope my folks will think better of letting you go away from home.  I felt so bad I could hardley [sic] keep from crying for I cant bear the thoughts of your [sic] leaving there because if you go away from there and be taken sick with the Children I don’t know of any one who I think will be so good as mother to help you.  Tom got a letter from Julia last night the first for a month and he was awful mad because his mother rented them rooms of Julias he said after we was gone our folks will misuse our wifes and turn them out of doors.” Lengthy closing. “god bless you my Dearest and onley [sic] loved one and may he in his wise judgement [sic] protect my little ones.  May your days of trials and sorrow be turned into days of gladness and Rejoiseing [sic]

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Potomac Creek, Va., Sunday April the 26th, 1863

 

Just got back from a tramp to Falmouth and Fredericksburg:  “I went to see how it looks since the Battle Every thing looks in Ruins and is almost desolate except the Rebel Soldiers that occupy the town and they were so close to the river that I could of Coresponded [sic] with them very easily if it had of been allowed it seems so strange to me that we can approach one other so close without danger and soon we shall be trying to take one others lives and be Engaged perhaps in a terible [sic] Battle But such is in times of war the Banks of the River were quite thick of Rebels to day it being a very fine day and they were Engaged in Cathing [sic] fish with net and hook you could hear them talk and laugh quite distincly [sic] they would come down to the river with the fish pole on one shoulder and their gun on the other and sit down and go to fishing without the least fear of being molested whatever and that is the way they do picket on the rebel side of the Rappahanock.  A great many of them wear our uniforms which are taken in battle but their uniforms are gray and our boys Call them graybacks and yellow bellies god forgive us our many sins if we have to attack them at this place again for it is a great deal stronger now than it was then and it will cost more lives than it did before.  They have fortified it to an Enormous Extent.” 

 

Still wondering if she got the $40.  Rumors and instructions every day that they are moving.  Again they are ordered to take 8 days rations in their knapsacks:  “I tell you it makes a load for a mule to carry [sic- crossed out “lets”] there is 80 or 90 hard tacks about 5 pound of bacon a pound of sugar ½ pound coffee 1 rubber blanket 1 woolen one our tent and Clothing Canteen Catriges [sic] and gun and all together makes a pretty heavy load to march with”.    Hopes she doesn’t have to leave “our folks” and go amongst strangers to live but if she must she must. Lengthy closing, signature, circle with “a kiss, the best one that I can give you now”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], [Undated and No Location, 1863 in banner – content suggest it could be sometime in April 1863 – see letter of April 14, 1863]

 

“Dear Clara

I have just been and had my face pulled But I think you will hardley [sic] know me

I suppose it looks like me with the Exception [sic] of looking so cross it don’t look to me to be natuerel [sic] But the boys say it looks just the same as I do onley it is awful cross  Dear Clara perhaps my looks have changed some since I have been down here But my heart is not unless it is for the Better  I would like to see ours and the Childrens pictures first rate  I suppose they have altered some  But I think I should know them if they should come where I was Quick [sic] [p. 2] I wish I never had of Left them but that cant be Helpt [sic] now and now Hopeing [sic] that the giver of all good will steer out frail crafts over this now Unhappy Country to meet Happilly [sic] once more and war & strife be at an end amongst Humanity and Nations forever  I remain your Husband

Sergt.. Peter. L. Dumont

[bow shaped flourish or banner with “146 N.Y.S.V. 1863

  

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Parole Camp Anapolis Mayrland [sic], Sunday May 17th, 1863

[sketch of man drinking coffee in tent, eagle with banner reads “LIBBY PRISON RICHMOND, MAY, 1863”, under sketch says “made in Libby Prison Richmond May the 9th 1863 by P.. Dumont 146 Regt NY Vols”

 

“Dear and Beloved wife

Thanks be to god that I am alive and well and god knows how I hope this may

[p.2 and 3] Read strait [sic] across

find you the same  I suppose long before now you are thinking that I am killed or Else taken prisoner  we left Camp the next morning after I wrote that last letter and little did I think it would come true so Quick what I spoke about on the 27th we commenced moveing [sic] towards the [sic- missing word?] marched all day and camped on old Camp misery on the 28th it commenced Raining But we marched all day Crossed the Rappahanock at 12 oclock the Enemy Retreating before us  took Quite a number of Prisoners without fireing [sic] a gun Reached the Rapidan River about dark here we had to pull off all our Clothes and wade the River up to our waist and the water was Bitter Cold  some kept their Clothes on and laid in them wet all night here our Lieut Col told us this would be a grand thing to tell our sweethears of when we got home  on the 29th we got up very Early in Rain and mud marched all day fording Quite a number of small streams the 146 ordered to United States to Capture a Rebel force there when when [sic] we came upon them they fled in great haste leaving Behind them doe [sic] they were mixing for Bread  Camped in a dence [sic] forest for the night on the 30th we marched all through the woods Backwards and forwards taking some prisoners and at night Camped near Chancelorsville [sic] where we Had an order read to us Congratulating our Corps on its success and said now the Rebels had to come out and fight us on fair grounds or Else make an unglorious Retreat   this Came from Hooker after dark 10 men out of each Company in our Regt went out in front near the Rebels and done Picket duty all night  May the 1st this morning drawed in our pickets and dealt out 20 rounds of Extra ammunition [sic] to Each man about 8 oclock our division began to move to the front the infantry [sic] Regulars went in and opend [sic] the fight  our Regt the 5th N.Y. and the 140th Brought up the third line of Battle  Every body said it was the most dangerous spot to form a line of Battle they ever saw we mad [sic] a flanking movement through the woods and while going through we had to halt very frequently at one of these Wm Givens had his leg Badly Broken By a piece of shell  a piece of it struck me on the calf of the right leg as big as a marble But it had lost its force [p.4] it only hurt for a little while But it is Black and Blue yet I stood Close to givens when he was struck another one Menzo [?] S. Gibbs had the top of his skull Blown off by the Explosion of a shell Covering fletch Dimbleby with blood after this we moved to the left in line of Battle and the 146 Regt  was ordered by gen Sykes to Support weeds Battery  we imediately [sic] moved to the Right and laid about 20 paces in Rear of the Battery Shortly after Co B. of the 146 was ordered off to the Right to skirmish  they being on the Right of the Battalion  Shortly after Co A was odered [sic] to follow onley [sic] farther on the Right here one of our Company got Badly wounded In the arm  the Rebs poured volly  [sic] after volly [sic] into us But we were in a deep woods and they could not see more than one or two of us at a time  Soon they advanced in line of Battle and we had to fall Back there Being onely [sic] two Companies of us  then they heard us Runing [sic] through the woods and they opened a deadly fire through the woods But we Escaped unhurt though the woods was alive with Bullets then we got down where the Battle had Raged the hardest and the Capt happened to think he had not Been ordered to fall Back  [p. 5]  He thought he had Better go Back again So he told us to follow him as far as he went most of the Company done so  we had not gone far when we halted and heard them Coming through the woods  the Captain told me to come with him and we adaanced up as far as a Rail fence  the Captain jumpt [sic] over it and I laid down and stuck my gun through the fence Ready to fire when they come in sight the Capt said he thought it was our Regt coming Round to skirmish with us But the Brush was so thick you could not see them untill [sic] they Came Right upon us  the first I knew the Capt made a leap over the fence and about 200 balls followed after him   they fired in the Direction I lay and it would have been Certain death to me to have moved as it was I happened to look to the right of me along the fence the [sic] stood a Rebel with his gun leveled at my head onley [sic] about 20 feet from me to of withdrawn my gun Back through the fence and fired at him would have been imposible [sic] for he could Easily of shot me before I could of done the first thing so there was onley [sic] one Course to Pursue and that was to surrender and Be made a prisoner of war they took my gun & Catridge

[p. 6 and 7] Read straight across

Box away from me and marched me in their lines where I came across the first Lieut of our Company we kept together and was marched around Considerable until [sic] night when we were put under Charge of the Provost guard and they marched us to a place where they had about 15 more of our Co prisoner they had about a hundred in all  I will mention their names  There was Dimbleby Sergt Leary and myself the first Lieut E. R. [?] Mattison John Latham.  James ward. John weeb [?] alonzo murry. John [Klemson?] Wm A Palmer.  John Plunkett. Micheal [sic] Keating.  Jos Corrigan.  Timothy Larmour  Thos Jones.  A. Parks. And the Captain was wounded in the arm and leg and also made prisoner  I cant think of all their [sic-missing word?} just now  the next day they started us for the Rail Road to go to Richmond But when we got near the Depot they heard it was all torn up By our Cavelry [sic] so they ^marched us 2 days and one whole night without any rest or any thing to eat at last we Brought up at Hanover Junction where we got four Hard tacks and a quarter pound of pork for a days Rations  I had four dollars and a half when I arrived there & I spent it in the same day for something to Eat to stop my hunger  you may not Credit this very well But let me here say that in Richmond you may pay 10 dollars for a Breakfast and not an Extra one at that [crossed out word] we remained at Hanover Station until May the 7th when we started on foot at 12 oclock for Richmond  Distanced 25 miles  we Reached it the same night but Remained outside of the City this was the hardest march I ever had 25 miles in a half day it was more than some of the boys Could Endure  on the morning of the 8th we were confined in Libby Prison at Richmond  the people Called us yanks and Damed [sic] Yankees & Blue Bellies while passing through the town we were paroled on the same day here we lived very scantily one quarters of a loaf of soft Bread as big as our 5 cent love [sic] and a quarter of a pound of salt pork was all we had to eat for one day this we drawed about Dinner time of each day I eat Coffee grounds to help stop my hunger we lived this way until the 13 when we left our prison and started again on foot for City point on the James River Distance from Richmond 40 miles we marched all day up until 10 oclock at night on the acount [sic] of rain and darkness  2 men were badly hurt and one Killed by falling down Embankments I and fletch [p. 8] marched together hold of one anothers hands to keep [missing words?] I never saw such a time in all my life  Speaking the truth you could not see your hands before your face the prisoners stopt [sic] in the Road and would not go any farther  So we staid [sic] where we stoped [sic] until [sic] morning we started again and got to City point at 12 oclock where lay our transports to take us away there was four of them fletch and me got on the Ocean Steamer S. R. Spaulding  Here we got plenty to eat one loaf of bread and all the meat we could eat they took 12 hundred on our boat and started for fortress Monroe got there about 9 oclock the next morning where we stopt [sic] for orders about 3 or four o clock we started for the Parole Camp Md. Where we are for the present one mile from Annapolis  we have drawed all new Clothes on the acount [sic] of being Louzzy [sic] we got covered with them in Libby Prison   I supposed Dear one you have mourned me as one lost among the killed or wounded But thank be to god I am neither one  I was in hopes that I might come Home when I got Here But they say it cant be done  I would like you to send me some money for I am in great need of some and perhaps it may be possible for me to come after all  I shall try my Best to come home as soon as I get a letter from you Direct your Letter to Sergt P.L. Dumont Co A 146 Regt. N.Y. Vols Camp Parole Annapolis Mayraland [sic]  Excuse me for not writeing [sic] more for I am in a hurry to send this to let you know that I am amongst the living god Bless you and yours my Dear one give my love to my folks from your Husband Peter L. Dumont  I don’t know any thing about tom as I was taken in the first days Battle.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole, May 19, 1863

 

“Dear Clarinda

we have just received orders to leave this place and if you haint sent any money you need not untill [sic] I write again  also tell fletchers folks not to write to him until they hear from him again

yours with Haste

P.L.Dumont”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], New Convalesant [sic] Camp Near fort Barnard, May the 22d 1863

 

Has traveled all over and now come to a stopping place at a Convalescent Camp about 3 miles from Alexandria and 4 miles from Washington.  They had been at both places but finally have been placed here which is only a half mile from old Camp Seward “and in a most Beautiful Place Everything is Clean & neat   they say it will Be Some time in august before we are Exchanged & oh if I Cant come home In that time I feel as if I shant never be of any good to the goverment [sic] hereafter  I am not any good to them now and might as well be at home as not  I Cant I Cant [sic] tell you in my letters how much we have suffered in the past few weeks so I will not try But I have gone through it all & am well and hearty as a buck”.  Talks about trying to get home but the men say it is most impossible.  Sent her a letter and a book from Annapolis and then a note in great haste telling her not to write again but she can now and he gives her the address.  He has not heard from her in over a month and doesn’t know if she got the picture of him and the $40.  Let him know if she sent any money to Annapolis and he’ll write to the postmaster to send it to him.  If she hasn’t sent him any money he wishes she would because he has no money and has borrowed the paper and envelopes.  Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], New Convalesint [sic] Camp Near Fort Barnard, May 24th, 1863

 

Talks about homesickness.  What he has recently been through seems like a dream.  He can’t believe he was a prisoner of war in Richmond.  Now waiting to be exchanged to “take the Bloody field” again.  Thinks fighting this summer will be harder than ever.  Describes Libby Prison.  They were in a garret with a tin roof and during the heat of the day they thought they would perish.  Three-hundred and fifty men were in a room at would accommodate 20 or 30.  The room had lice, vermin, a strong-smelling privy with no door, tobacco quids and juice on the floor.  The water was “to [sic] filthy for swine to drink”.  No place to wash.  Scarcely enough food to keep from starving.  Rations were a quarter loaf of bread “the size of our 5 cents loafs at home” and a piece of meat the size of an oyster.  If they got within two feet of the window a sentry fired on them from below.  Now living in a comfortable barracks in a “Delightful Place in a neat Cedar Grove”.  Everything is clean and quiet.  Church three times a day.  There are 200 government buildings.  “Sutters” [?], picture galleries, barber shops, and a railroad running through.  Feels confined and says he will never again complain when Clara asks him to go walking.  Talks about long marches.  Describes the march to Libby Prison:  “23 miles from noon till night was not bad under a burning sun.”  The Rebel Cavalry marched them to Libby Prison.  They were mounted and had orders to shoot down any man who straggled or fell behind.  Asks Clara to take care of herself and the children and write soon.

 Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Convalesint [sic] Camp Elaxandria [sic] Va., Sunday May 31 1863

 

Got her letter with money .  Is well except for bad cold that will wear off soon in this hot weather.  Hopes she is better than she last was with the children when she last wrote.  “Oh how I do pity you to think you are all alone now and in that old shanty I know it is not fit for human people to live in may god Comfort you in your loneliness.  I shall try hard to come home for it seems as if it would kill me to Go back to the Regt without seeing you and my little ones.”  Yesterday he got a pass to go to Fort Corcoran with Fletch and they visited old Camp Seward which doesn’t look anything like it used to.  “We saw Billy Kirkland Charly Kirklands Brother and Givens and lots of Utica boys they are haveing [sic] a nice time of it they are liveing [sic] as Comfortable as they would at home almost they have their good beds to lay on Chairs to sit on and table to Eat off of and they have been here now almost two years.  Some of the soldiers are haveing [sic] very Easy times in this war But our regt has had it hard enough since they have been out they Cant say the 146 is 4th of July soldiers for they have played their share of the play since they have been here.  Lengthy closing, will close because he wants to go to Church this afternoon.  P.S. As of today he has been in the service nine months and nine days and has 52 dollars coming to him including 3 months of sergeant’s pay at  17 dollars a month since the last of February.  The paymaster has been ordered to pay them off and they expect to be paid next week.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Near Fort Barnard Va., June 3rd 1863

 

Mostly over his cold.  “I suppose you have about broke your back with lifting those heavy things tell me if hank [sic] has got your things yet and if they are most spoilt  I cant Imagine what our folks are going to do with all those nice things  these are getting to be hard times to run in Debt much if I Profysy [sic] wrong there is going to be pretty hard times before a great while.  I have got that money all right you sent me. Tell me Dear Clara if it was the girls or father and mother that wanted that money & what did they say when they heard I was taken Prisoner oh how I should like to be by you to Day Dear Clara I have got so much I want to tell you that I cant that I cant [sic-repeats words]  put in to a letter but I am in hopes I will have chance to by and by .  Tell fletchs [sic] folks that I helpt [sic] to take him to the hospital yesterday afternoon with the Digearious fever But he is a great deal Better to day.  He got up singing yesterday morning he was taken very sudden but by the time [sic- two words crossed out] you get this I think he will be well again.”  Fletch wonders why he doesn’t hear from home and the only one letter Fletch got was from Dave’s wife.

 

“Dear Clara I have forgot how old the Children are please write & let me know.  You may think this funny but I Cant help it  it seems as if my memory was good for nothing lately & it seems as if I was getting Deaf   sometimes they have to speak 3 or 4 times before I can hear them there seems to be a buzzing in my Ears all the time  maybe it comes from this cold I have had & will soon wear away.  I have not heard from the Col yet but Expect to all the time.”  Closing.  “P.S.  I picked ripe strawberries here last week  I wish I could send Ida some  does she like all such thing the same as Ever   poor little thing how I want to see her.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Near Fort Barnard Va., Sunday June 7th 1863

 

Feeling quite lonesome.  Got her letter Tuesday and that’s all he got.  “I have not got an answer yet to that letter I wrote to the Col  maybe he will never answer it  there was all my hopes in getting home in getting an answer from him  they have Stopt [sic] giveing [sic] papers here to Officers & Privates and it is almost imposible [sic] to get out of the grounds now  I hope something will turn up pretty soon so as to give us a Chance to get home  oh Dear Clara how hard it seems to be where I Can Come home and yet I Cannot  it is hard telling whether they would let me Come if they knew I was dying or some of you at home  I am dreaming of you & home almost every night but morning finds me always in hearing of fifes & drum  how odious they Sound to me now  I used to take delight in hearing them.”

 

Asks her to let him know how much Provisions cost at home now and “how much rent are you paying for that miserable old paddy hole don’t blame me Dear Clara for speaking so of the place you live in for you know what a strong dislike I always had for it  I think if I Came Home you wouldn’t stay in it long.  I am afraid nobody will call there to see you in that place.”  Asks how Sara Graff doing because she hasn’t written about her in a long time.    Has so much to tell Clara that he can’t put in writing.  Hopes she will write again soon because it is consolation for him since he can’t see her.  “Send them pictures for I cant wait much longer before I see them little ones of mine”.  Is sending her a letter for his folks and hopes they will write to him.  Asks if she has heard from George because George hasn’t written to him and he doesn’t know George’s “directions” so if she knows them please send them.  Fletch is better but still in the hospital.  Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Alexandria Va., June 18th 1863

 

Got her letter, sorry he didn’t write sooner, last Tuesday he went to visit the boys at the Fort and on Sunday he spent all day at church. They got paid off and he got $34 all in greenbacks and he doesn’t feel safe sending it just yet while so much money is going over the road. If he doesn’t get to come home he will send it all before they leave here.  A number of the boys came here from the hospital at Acquia Creek, all sick.  Most of Hookers Army is now near Washington and there is great excitement.  Stragglers come in from the front every day saying it will be another Bull Run.

 

“Now I will tell you all that I know about Menzo [Gibbon?]  at the time he was killed [crossed out-were] we were in the woods seeking shelter from the Enemys shells & waiting to get the order to form in lie of Battle  he was in a stooping position with his back towards the enemy & Dimbleby was close to him   Dimbleby fell down behind him when he heard the fire or else the same shell would of killed them both  the shell took effect about 2 inches above the eyebrows taking off the upper part of his head Completely  he fell over backwards on Dimbleby and never moved a muscle  we were imediately [sic] ordered in line of Battle & as I passed the spot where he lay I took a last look at him  his features were Composed & I thought I discerned a smile on his face  what ever became of his Remains after is more than I can tell  I saw many that had met with a similar fate on that bloody field  he marched towards the enemy Bravely & had met a soldiers fate  he seemed to have a Presentiment that he was going to be killed for he told some of the Boys the night before he would never live to come out of this Battle but he showed no Cowardice  tell his mother I don’t think she can ever Recover his body & if she could he was so mutilated she could not bare [sic] to look at him  She has the Consolation however to know he died bravely and in the defence [sic] of his Country  I trust he has gone to a better place than earth can afford us poor mortals.”

 

The ring he sent Clara is made of beef bone.  He assumes she was joking that he made it of human bone and laughed when he read that part of her letter.  He made one for Ida but broke it before it was done so he’ll try to make another.  “You spoke about telegraphing for me  I don’t know how it would work Here  you can do as you think best about

 

Loose piece that appears to be the ending for this letter]

 

“It I don’t think it would be a great Crime for there are no signs of an exchange very soon and I might as well be there as here Dear Clara any way to see you once again  yesterday I saw [Gen? Geo?] Limeback & wife at Fort Corcoran  She is the first woman I have had a good talk with since I have been down here  they are liveing [sic] as Comfortable as Piggs [sic] for Soldiers  Dear Clara take good Care of your health & the little [p. 2] ones & may heaven Bless you & Protect you.  it [sic] will have to be some thing pretty serious what you telegraph to have me Come I guess.  Good by for now I will try to write oftener from your ever true & loveing [sic] Husband Forever

Sergt Peter. L. Dumont.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Conaalisent [sic] Alexandria Va., June 20th 1863

 

Is well.  “We are now in tents but in the same Camp  there was about 7 thousand Conaalisents came here this week & we had to put up tents  they are not as good as Barracks but the sick is looked to before prisoners as they should be of course  Quite a number of our Regt came here also on the sick list  I was talking with a man here last night  he said if a man was married and could show a good Excuse such as Sickness or Death he might get a furlough  oh Dear Clara I want to come home so Bad I listen for every word any body says about getting furloughs  it seems as if I cannot give up coming any way I have seen our new uniform  it is the most Curious looking Rig you ever saw.”

 

Has written to “our folks” but never received an answer.  Wants to know where Julia is now because Clara doesn’t write anything about her. 

 

“I suppose the army is haveing [sic] quite a hard time of it just now  I see in the papers they are falling down all along the Road most dead for water & such dreadful Hot weather  I pity them from the Bottom of my Heart for we cant keep the water from Running off of us here in the shade & doing nothing whatever.”  Had some rain last night.  “Excuse this short letter for paper [sic- missing words?] from your husband with great love.” Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic], June 24th 1863

 

Got her letter, sorry he was the cause of so much anxiety by not writing her sooner but he did write twice and thinks she should have gotten the letters sooner.  “I have been looking for a telegram since Monday but as yet none has come  I think if you send one I might get Home  to day I have been playing with a little girl of Idas age here in Camp & she thinks a great deal of me  She puts me in mind of Ida so much I could hardley [sic] leave her  Poor Sweet little Ida  How bad I want to see here  oh Dear Clara god knows how much I think of you & would give all & Everything to see you all again  but it seems every time there is a shadow of hope to get Home something appears before if  if you haven’t telegraphed to me yet do so now & see what can be made out of it  I am willing to run the risk be it ever so great.”

 

Fighting in camp last Sunday sounded awful with the roar of artillery all the time.  Wonders why don’t “some of our folks” write.  Fletch feels bad too because he doesn’t hear from his folks “oftener”.  “Dear Clara if you could see the way the Boys crowd around the post office to hear from home you wouldn’t wonder at our wanting to hear from home”.  Some of the poor soldiers haven’t gotten any letters since they got there and to see their looks when they leave the post office empty handed could almost make you cry.  “Some will swear & some will go off by themselves & have a cry over it & some will say that they will give ten dollars for a letter they don’t care whether it comes from home or not so you see Dear Clara what Soldiers thinks of getting a letter.”

 

He seems to have trouble with one of his ears.  Since he was taken prisoner he has had a pretty hard cold and he guesses it settled there. He can hardly hear out of it but guesses it will get better.  Lengthy closing.  “P.S.  I met with a pretty narrow escape the other night I woke up in the morning with a pin in my mouth  how it came there is more than I can tell  good night Dear Clara From your true Pete”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Alexandria Va., June 28th 1863  Sunday

 

“Dear wife  Feeling lonesome & tired of mind I think I will write a few lines to you  Hopeing [sic] it may find you all well at Home  I got a letter from you on Friday stateing [sic] that I might look out for that telegraph on Monday  I have been looking all this week Except Monday  But now I shall come [wence?] on Monday to look again.”  He heard that Tom is only 3 miles from him but he can’t get to him.  He heard that Tom got tired out on the march.  “By what I can learn from all that I have seen & heard the boys say this last march has been one of the Hardest of the whole war the men fell down dead in quite a number of cases along the Road  there has been a great deal of talk here lately of a general Exchange on the 6th of July  I hope it is not so for I do not care about returning to the Regt while this Hot weather lasts and most of all dear Clara I can never make up my mind to go back before I go home  it will most kill me if I have to do it   But I cant tell I shall feel Hopeful untill [sic] I hear from you again.”

 

He thinks there are about a hundred of his Regt there counting sick and prisoners.  He wants to see Tom but is afraid he won’t and says to tell Julia the boys said Tom is well.   Lengthy description about hopes and prayers for a furlough.  “I am afraid I have offended some of our folks some way  I cant  tell how for none of them writes to me  How much I do prize a letter from Home  Dear Clara I cut them pictures of Ida & willie off just so they would go in that Case I brought with me  so I have all four of them in together them pictures I brought from  {sic- missing “home”?] are just as good as they ever was onley [sic] the case is soiled a little”.  Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to brother, Camp Convalesint [sic] Alexandria Va., June 28, 1863

 

“Dear Brother

I am well at Present & hope these few lines will find you all the same at home  Hearing that you was in Utica I expected to get a letter from you But have not yet got one  I should of wrote one long ago if I had of known where your address was  this is the onley [sic] reason why I have not written to you before  How much I have suffered since I have been a soldier  I hope never to go through with again  I refrain from writeing [sic] home everything in the Hardships we endure for I dont want [p. 2] them to worry of a trouble I have Brought on myself so I don’t write all to make them feel bad  although I have Received some honers [sic] since I have Been here  I was promoted to a Sergt last winter from the ranks  Even that Office is looked up to here in the army as a big thing  we have nearly as much athority [sic] as a Comissoned [sic] officer and the men are in duty bound to obey us as much  it relieves me from all guard & fatiuge [sic] duty as well as many other things.  I hope this will find you well & enjoying yourself & take my advice never enlist if you don’t want to be sorry all the days of your life after  I have not one half [p.3] the strength I had when I enlisted although I look Hearty & well & feel so at present   I hope you will answer this as soon as you get it and let me hear from you   give my love to father & mother & all enquiring friends

You affectionate Brother

Sergt Peter L. Dumont”

 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic], July 4th 1863

 

“This is the most lonely & Impresive [sic] 4th of July I ever saw  I am well in body but sick in heart & mind but I hope this will find you all well at home.”  He got her telegram Wednesday and took it to the Colonel who sent it to Washington to the War Department to get it signed. He’s not confident he’ll get it (furlough) so she shouldn’t be disappointed.  “Last night I had a dream & I thought I was at home & I always take dreams rite the reverse so I don’t place any confidence in coming”.  He doesn’t blame her because she has done her duty and more. He and Fletch had their likenesses taken with their new uniforms (Zouaves?) and he thought she might like it in case he’s not coming home. Pictures are expensive there, it cost a dollar and 70 cents.  He loaned Fletch 2 dollars and Fletch says he will pay Peter or send a letter to Dave and have Dave pay Clara.

 

They got news that General Lee is captured along with 100 pieces of artillery and 50 thousand rebels.  Everyone is fussing and “hurahing” but he thinks it’s too good to be true.  “There has been no 4th of July here to day not even so much as a fire cracker  it has been dredful [sic] still except Services at the Chapel”.  He’s starting to feel resigned to his fate that he won’t get a furlough but he still has hopes and wants her to keep up good courage for his sake.

 

Sarah Graff to [Clarinda?], July, Monday the 6 1863

 

“Dar [sic] friend

i take up my pen to let you know that i have not foregoten [sic] you and that I miss you very much when Sunday  [evenings?] comes  yes I often think of you and your poor little ones and of thare father that is so far from you and them  i hope that the lord will spare his life and bring him back to his wife and children again for it is hard to be left as I am in this world I often wish i was laid in the grave by my husband and [child?]  i feel very lonesome by spells [p.2]  it will be five weeks Wednesday since i left Utica but it seems more like a year then [sic] five weeks  I don’t feel contened [sic] there then eny [sic] other place I know of it is very plest [sic] here for the lake is wright [sic] in front of the house  I often sit by the window for hours and look in the water  it is getting late and I must bring my letter to a close so I bid you good night Mary sends her love to you  excuse me for not writing sooner  I am well and hope that these few lines find you and children the same  when you write let me know when you hear from your husband last and how he is getting along.

Write soon and [oblig?] me

I remain as ever your

 Friend Sarah M Graff

Yours truly

Direct your letters

Sarah M Graff

[Houkinsville?]

NY

Excuse this poor writing

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent[sic] Va., July the 8th 1863

 

Sad to hear Ida is so sick, please take care of her because he couldn’t bear to lose her..for I always thought so much of her.  I don’t mean by this that I don’t think anything of willie for I should hate to loose [sic] him just as bad but you know how Ida was her Papa girl  how much she always seemed to think of me & how she did always want to go with me where I went.  But sometimes I think she will never follow me again  I have had a Presentiment since you sent that telegram that the lord would punish us for our wickedness But I hope for the Best  I have not heard anything form that furlough since it went to the war Department & that is week ago  Some say it takes two weeks to get it.”

 

“We are getting glorious news here at present to day  the news is that the whole of the rebel army of virginia is destroyed I pray god this may be true  vicksburgh has fallen & Richmond is expected to be taken every day & it seems as if the Rebs is cathing [sic] it on every side pretty bad just now.” 

 

She had asked his consent to go to the picnic with George on July 14th and he is surprised she wouldn’t go without his leave but wants her to enjoy herself however she can. “No Dear Clara go & may god Bless you I love you to much to keep you from enjoying yourself  it cant make any talk with the folks you know for he is my Brother yet you know I am jelous [sic] very much so & I hope there will be no danger in giving my consent to such and [elopement?] with my Brother as for me I cant find no pleasure in anything now  I get up in the morning & when night comes I am as tired as if I had done a hard days work  I am thinking of you & home all the time & it works so much on my mind it makes my head acke [sic] all the time  my Constitution is not what it used to be the least exersize [sic] tires me all out & yet if I was forced to it I suppose I could march fifty miles in one day.” He doesn’t think they’ll be exchanged soon but if they are he’ll make the best of it.  Much excitement in camp.  “I have found a young man here by the name of Justis Place  he used to work at Harwoods.  He sends his respects to her ^ Malvina. “  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Va., July the 12th 1863 Sunday

 

Got her letter and glad to hear all are well.  Saw that Ida was expecting a ring so he sat right down and made another one (the first one broke), he worked from 2 PM until dark to get it done.  Has given up coming home because they say they will be exchanged pretty soon. Will send her money, either in this letter or by express.   Will see how much they charge and if it’s not much he’ll send it to her that way.  If he doesn’t get a furlough he’ll send another ten dollars. 

 

“Dear Clara I suppose the letters I write to my folks they don’t get for I saw a Utica Herald here with a letter advertised in it for george & I suppose it is one that I sent him about 2 weeks ago  I suppose by the time you get this you will have been to the pic nic  I hope you enjoyed yourself firstrate  when you answer this tell me how it came off  I wish I had of been there to go with you but then I see pic nics enough here every day I am getting sick of them you know what I mean drums fifes & bugles & soldiers I almost hate the sight & hearing of them.” 

 

Adds up dollars and cents and shillings for “them stockings you spoke abot [sic]” and concludes “that would make 12 shillings for 4 Dozen & if they only paid you 11 shillings they cheated you out of one”.  The pictures he had taken with Fletch, Fletch stood in the best light  “but then you know he is the Best looking & maybe you look at that a great deal  his folks has one just the same  there is no Difference between the two.” 

 

Don’t listen to Bill Jones, he wasn’t a gentlemen telling her such stuff, there is some talk of Co A  soldiers surrendering themselves without a struggle and he doesn’t know if it’s true but he was not one of them.  “As near as I can find out there was about 18 of them that run in a house & then give themselves up but I was not with them  when I was takeing [sic] I was surrounded by about 200 of Rebels me and the Captain alone.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Va., July 16th 1863

 

So sorry to hear Ida is so sick again.  “Dear Clara I will tell you how fletch came to know about your sending for me  he was crying around & asking me every day if there was not some way to get home  so I told him if he would Promise me never to sat anything to anyone I would tell him how I thought he might get one  you see I wont lie about it for I thought he would never tell you or his folks that you had done so for me  But you see you cant trust your Best friends with a secret  I know [otto gulick?] he is one of them Dutch meat Pedlars that lives up near the [Capron?] factory”.  He sent her a letter with a ring for Ida in it but he doesn’t know if she’ll get it because the roads are in a bad state. “…I sent you a paper with a receipt for 20 Dollars which I sent by express I hope you have got it before now”.  He would have sent it earlier but hoped he was going home.  He feels bad she had to ask for it because she doesn’t use a lot of money.  “Sometimes I wonder how you get along with as little as you do you have forgot Dear Clara that you sent me ten dollars  I am sorry that I have spent so much money  But I could not help it Dear Clara we have lived so poor here that I have bought a great Deal to eat & we have to pay double here what everything is worth…”  They are supposed to get paid 3 months pay next week and he will send her all of it.

 

tell me in you next letter what Mary that was stayed with you  I suppose though it was Mary Myers  what is she doing now  Dear Clara don’t scold me for telling fletch for I thought I was doing a favor and I little thought it would come back to you so soon.”  Closing.  “I remain yours in love & truth Peter L Dumont”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Va., Sunday July 19th [sic – year not given, but content indicates 1863]

 

Hasn’t heard from her and hopes she got the money because he knows she must need it.  Worried about little Ida being sick.  “I think that in a few days we will be Exchanged & then I will have to go Back to my Regt again  it will be hard for me to do so without seeing you   But I shall try to feel Better than what I do.”

 

Unhappy he hasn’t gotten a letter from George or Malley and says he won’t write them again until he does.  It makes him feel bad that none of his folks write when they all know how to.  It seems like no one cares about him  “But I think I know on one who loves me & is thinking of me while I am here and that is you dear Clara  I place all the Confidence in you & Believe you are what I hoped & wished for  there is not much news here at present onley [sic] what you hear in the Papers   I think that our folks are Driveing [sic] the Rebels pretty hard at Present & they will be forced after a while to yield to the old goverment [sic] again  I hope this Summer will finish up the wicked Rebellion   I am tired of lying around in Idleness the way we are here and I have seen all the fighting I want to  But if it is my lot to go into more Battles I shall go the same as I went before.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Va., Friday July 24th 1863

 

Finally got her letter, it had been 10 days since he’d gotten one and thought she must be sick.  “Dear Clara you Cant tell how I felt after I read your letter  I feel for you with all my heart god knows how gladly I would come if I could & be with you  I never thought any of my folks could of treated you with so little respect it is hard I know it  But dear Clara I happen to have a hope that I shall yet get through this wicked Rebelion [sic] & come home to live & die with my Dear little wife & then I will try & atone for all the Sorrow I have Brought on you  I am afraid you stay at Home to [sic] much  why did you not go to the Pic nic & enjoy yourself  I think it would of done you a great deal of good  I did not know untill [sic] lately that you was liveing [sic] in such a place as you are up stairs & in one room  I am afraid you are doing an injury to yourself by trying to please me as you think I don’t want you to [spunge?] your stomachs or live Poorly to save a little money because that would hurt my feelings worse than anything else  Dear Clara last Sunday I spent the whole day in the tent thinking of you & wishing I could see you  I wonder if Joey never thought of setting on the steps & if nobody never thought of saying any thing to her for it & then that night Society  oh Dear Clara it makes me feel awful I was almost crazy when I read your letter  I sat down & thought I would write a real saucy letter to them but my better feelings over Balanced my Bad ones & I was glad I did not write it for that would onely [sic] be letting them know you had been writeing [sic] about them to me  So Dear Clara take my advice try not to notice everything they say or do  overlook it if you can & rest asured [sic] that one of the truest & most loveing [sic] hearts beats warm for you that ever beat in a human bosom  god Bless & Protect you through life & I hope when the harvest Comes you may be gathered with all the heavenly & be at rest.”

 

Wants to see a picture of her to see if she is altered any.  Did not get a letter from George or Mally but may get it tomorrow.  “I am glad to hear that Ida was so pleased with her ring poor little thing how bad I do want to see her  She must always be called her pas [sic] girl  I always thought so much of her & she always seemed to think a great deal of me.”  Is sending her five dollars since he thinks he’s not coming home.  He would like to have her come visit but there is nowhere for her to stay:  “the houses within 15 miles of here was all Burnt Down in the Commencement of this war & nothing is to be seen but tents.”  If he thought the war would last much longer he’d send for her anyway. They got mustered in and are going to be paid soon and he’ll send it home.  Closing.  P.S.  “Tell me in your next letter if george is enrolled for the Draft”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Va., Sunday July 26th 1863

 

Feeling lonesome.  “Got a letter from Mally to day with her likeness  Most all the Boys are going Crazy over her good looks”  He answered her and is sending it with this letter and a Harpers Weekly.  “I thought you might think more of it if I sent it if I bought it than if you had got it yourself.”  They got mustered for two months pay and he will send it as soon as he gets it, doesn’t know the cost of carrying it by Express. “How bad I do feel because I cant get home But I felt worse when I got your letter saying you had cried every letter you wrote  oh Dear Clara it was to [sic] bad But if anything of that kind happens I wish to know it for I wish to share your sorrows likewise whatever may Befall or Beset you   I know of one fond loveing [sic] heart that will never cease to Beat for you & you alone while life remains  I cant express by words how deeply I love you & the longer I am away the stronger grows that love for you  to Part with you now I think it would about kill me you know last summer when you was gone onley [sic] a month how long it seemed to me & how Dearly I prized your worth when you came I hope that we may live together again & live happily .” 

 

Hasn’t got a letter from George yet but might get one tomorrow.  Doesn’t know when they will be exchanged.  It could be in the next month. “When I am in the service 25 days longer I will be one year in the service of Uncle Sam  god grant that I may not pass another one here.” Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Convalisent [sic] Camp Va., Friday July 31st 1863

 

Got her letter and one from Joey, glad all are well as he is.  “I have not written to Mr. Hart yet & did not mean to untill [sic] I was gone a year But I think he has done well & I think you have Done well with it but I don’t think bill [Daywell?] ever Done much out of his own Pocket for any body  But I think Mr Hart a good and kind man & if you think it is right I will write to him & thank him for what he has done for you because he will of course Expect you have wrote to me about it”.  Has not gotten paid.  Thank Joey for her letter and picture, he would write to her but doesn’t have postage stamps.  “Poor little Ida  how bad was she hurt  I wish I could see her I guess she remembers her papa Pretty well But willie I think He will forget me or has done so long ago.”

 

“We have had quite a time here  the Paroled Prisoners has been kept under so close confinement that they have Revolted 2 or three times & they have placed us in another Camp with a strong guard around us & they have cut down on the Rations so they [sic] men did not have enough to eat  the Comanding [sic] officer of the Camp has to keep himself very Close to his Quarters or he is called all sort of names & hooted at & in a number of cases he has been stoned.”

 

Hopes she’ll send him a picture because he wants to see her so bad.  Word just came while he’s writing that they’ve been exchanged but he doesn’t believe it.  “I am sorry to here of [kates?] Baby & I hope it will live if her Children had lived she would have had quite a family by this time”.  Closing. 

 

“P.S.  I forgot to tell yesterday I got a letter from the Col of our regt with a strong recommend for a furlough it was wrote the 8th of June and it is now to late  I might of come home just as well as not if I had got it in time  it was for me and Dimbleby”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Convalisent [sic] Va., Sunday August 2nd 1862 [sic – content indicates it should be 1863]

 

Not feeling well “the weather is so hot the water runs in streams down my Body  I suppose this is the cause of my feeling so.”  “I got a letter from george yesterday that has been wrote some time.”  They have not been exchanged yet although they say it will be a few days “but I think it all Origanates [sic] from the thought that it is about the time for a Regular Exchange”  Has not been paid.  “I Have written to Mr Hart a letter of thanks But Did not tell him of his Promise”.  In 20 days he will have been in the service for a year.  “I wonder if I will have to stay 3 years  it seems hard & yet I should not feel Exactly right to Come Home to Stay with this war unsettled”.  “The girls write to me it will be a day of great Rejoising to see their Dear Brother home once more  if they think so much of me I wish they would show my Dear loved wife some of that love  I would like it far better.”

 

“… we are now in a Camp where we are kept under a Close guard & there is not a Shade tree to keep us from the Burning sun & our tents draws the Sun so it is Hot as an Oven inside almost  oh my it is awful Hot to day I hope you don’t Suffer from such hot weather in Utica  the soldiers have turned out 2 or 3 times in large Bodies to Claim their Rights as soldiers but so far they have been unsuccessful  I am afraid they will do something awful before they get through with it  they are Deprived of all liberties & their Rations have been Reduced one half Such Procedeings [sic] will make good men Desperate & Claim their Rights by main force  if they can not be obtained any other way”. “I might just as well Been at home these two months as not if I had of Recevied that Recommend in time but it is to [sic] late now.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., August 7th 1863

 

Got 2 letters and her picture, was so glad.  “You are a great deal flesher [sic] than what you was when I came away from home I think you look as well as Ever  I saw you looking onley [sic] you look sad & Dispirited about something  I am sorry to hear of Jim Harpers death.”  She wanted to know how he knew she was living upstairs, asked who told him.  He said no one did, he guessed it from her letter when she said she came downstairs after getting her work done and sat on the steps looking for him to come home.  “If the soldiers don’t fall in love with your Picture I have already & I fell in love with the Origanal [sic] some years ago & I find that looking over the past that love has not been Cooled a might  I don’t think george will have to come here for they are Dischargeing all Subjects of that kind here now”.  They have not been paid off and won’t be for a week or two because the Paymasters went to the Regiments and won’t come back until they’re done.  He is owed almost 4 months pay but he doesn’t think they will get but 2 months.  “There will be 68 Dollars Coming to me the last of this month.”  A lot of talk they will be exchanged soon but it could be another month.

 

“You must direct your letters now to Camp Parole Near Alexandria Virginia we have got into a Better Camp all to ourselves and it is called Camp Parole I would like to have you come here if it was not for a set of Rowdish Men Called Soldiers and wearing Soldiers Unifom who stands Ready to Blackguard Every woman that Comes into Camp  this is one of the reason [sic] why I have not sent for you and not a descent Place for you to stay is another Reason.”  Everybody thinks the war will be over soon.  Can’t get postage stamps. Closing.” 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., August 10th 1863

 

He went down to the Potomac River and got a mess of freshwater clams and fried them up, they went first rate.  Wishes she could have been there this summer to get berries, they were so thick the soldiers couldn’t pick half.  “I could of picked 12 quarts of them long Black Berries in a coup of hours & huckle Berries  I have never known what huckle Berries were untill [sic] I Came here I have had my fill of them this summer  oh how I have wished I coul of sent you and Ida some  they looked so nice.”  Has not gotten paid yet.  Talk that they won’t get exchanged at all or not in a good while anyway.  If they don’t he will try to get home.  Mr Place wanted I should ask Mally if she would be offended if he should ask her to hold a corespondence [sic] with her he says he has no one to write to in Utica & would like some one to hold a corespondence [sic] with in that place.”  Tom came over to this camp for 2 or 3 days then yesterday went to the Regt:  “I Pitied jim for he did not look fit for to go  he just got a letter from Julia with her Picture in it   he wanted me to write an answer But he did not have time  Our Regt numbers now about 190 men & there has been 4 Regts Cnsolidated into it  this is what I call one of the greatest losses of the war  what has become of all our men I am sure I cant tell & I Doubt if the Col can tell  there is no news so I will come to a close”.

 

[A poem in different handwriting on different paper with different spelling was folded with this one but probably is unrelated.]

 

“Selling heaven”

Go bring me said the dying fair

With anguish in her tone

There costly robes and jewels rare

Go bring them every on [sic]

They strew’d them on her dying bed

These robes of princly [sic] cost

Father with bitterness she said

For these my soul is lost

 

With glorious hopes once was blest

Nor feared the gaping tomb

With heaven already in my hart [sic]

I look’d for heave to come

I heard a saviour [parding?] voice

My soul was fill’d with peace

Father you bought me with these toys

I barter’d heaven for these

[p.2 reverse]

Tak [sic] them they are the price of blood

For them I lost my soul

For them must bear the wrath of god

While [careless?] ages roll

Remember when you look on these

You [sic] daughters fearful doom

That she her pride and [thin?] to please

[appears unfinished?]

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Parole Camp Near Alexandria Va., August the 15th 1863

 

They’ve been busy getting mustered and paid off.  Got a letter from Bill Dagwell in answer to one he sent Mr. Hart.  “He says that you was on the Point of seeing the firm of hart & Dagwell once or twice & that you was very much in need of money he says you told him this  I think you done very wrong if you was in want of money to not let me know it while I was carrying it about in my Pocket  he seems to feel Big over it to think he has helped a Poor Soldiers wife a little”.  He sent her 25 dollars by Express.  Talk of exchange but nothing official.  “You wrote of seeing Old [Top?] at Carters & she spoke about the Pic Nic  I hope she did not tell you anything to make you feel Bad for as sure as I live I hope to Retain your love I acted not in any way to make her say anything of me and tell the truth I acted not out of a married mans place while in her Company  if she has said anything mean about me or hinted such a thing I hope you will tell her that she has told a Black lie for as god let me live I did not think of such a thing  May be I am going to [sic] far But I thought when I read your letter she had said some thing to hurt your feelings  I do not Blame you if you did think something of it For I had no Buisnesess [sic] to go as I did  I hope this Rebelion [sic] will soon come to a close for god knows how Bad oh how Bad I wish to see your Dear face again & my little Ida… Somehow or other I feel as if I cant go Back to my Regt Do my Country Justice in another Battle Unless I can see you again”  but he thinks he won’t be able to. Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Near Alexandria Va., Sunday August 16th 1863

 

Got her letter and wants to answer even though he wrote yesterday.  Got a likeness of Mother and likes it very much, can see she’s grown older, tell her he likes it a great deal “and it shall never leave me while I have strength to carry it.  I have a pretty good lot of Pictures now to carry about But I don’t mind the heft of them I am sorry I did not get a Better one of Ida  it has most disappeared & look [sic] quite Dim.”

 

“It is reported here in Camp that the yellow Fever is Raging Pretty Bad & this Morning they Commenced giveing [sic] us Whiskey & Quinine to keep it off  I for my part have not seen a case of it yet.”  Sent her $25 by Express.  “Oh how I do wish I could see you to day  I feel so lonesome  I hope you feel Better over our seperation [sic] than what I do  if you don’t you must feel miserable indeed  I am sweating like a Butcher while I am writeing [sic] this for oh my you cant begin to tell how hot it is down here  But the nights are getting somewhat cooler so we manage to sleep a little Better than we did 2 weeks ago”.  “Seeing Joey feels so bad I will try & write her a few lines to day I hope you will tell me next what that young [top?] has to say about me and if she lied to you or said anything bad  I refer you to Sarah Graff for I was not out of her sight all the whole day … I never thought she was much anyway.  Oh Dear Clara I have never done anything wrong no more than what you have seen with your own eyes & god helping I don’t mean to do it  Believe me I have always been true as steel to you through life & so wish to remain.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., August the 20th 1863

 

“I write you today because I hardley [sic] know what else to do with myself…I am well that is to all apearances [sic] but my Bowels have not been in a good state for a week past  I have eaten a mess of new Potato & a couple ears of green Corn  this may have upset me some  they are givieng [sic] out whiskey & Quinine here twice a day But my Stomach wont Bear it  I drinked it Once & I was sick afterwards so I Don’t drink any now  I don’t know But it is good as a medicine  But the men shamefully abuse the privelage [sic] they have got  Some draw their rations and give them away to others & they got Beastly Drunk on it  One young Boy here Drank so much that he lied in fits all day afterwards  if they is many Dying her from [crossed out “Small”] yellow fever they keep it still from us for I have not seen a case of it yet  But one thing is sure they would not give the men whiskey for nothing  there is some Contgious [sic] Disease amongst us and a Bad one to  But it is kept still”.  Weather is getting colder, need two blankets at night to keep warm. 

 

They don’t hear much about an exchange and some say it won’t happen.  “The New york herald says there is No Probability of an Exchange on the grounds that the Rebels Refuse to Exchange on the old Cartel  if they don’t exchange us I hope to get home in a few days as there is some talk of giveing [sic] us all a furlough”.  He hopes that he might get a furlough because he still has the Colonels’ recommend. 

 

“The news of the riots & the resistence to the Draft has tended to Dishearten the Soldiers very much at the Present time  if we had a hearty & Cheering Responce [sic] from the loyal States I [sic] is the general Belief this Rebelion would not last long  But this Sudden Outbreak of men at home will have a tendency to Prolong the war a great while longer.”  Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., Near Alexandria, Sunday August 23rd [sic – year not given, but content indicates 1863]

 

Dreadful hot, too warm to write with any comfort.  Still hasn’t gotten a letter from her and anxious to hear if she got the money.  “Dear Clara it was a year ago yesterday since I enlisted and how long it seems since I left you  god onley [sic] knows how long it yet will be before I see you maybe never.  But I hope before another year has Past & gone the war we are engaged in will [sic- missing “be”] over never to come again.” Lengthy discussion of whether or not they will be exchanged and when:  “I am prepared for better or for worse let come what may but oh how Bad I want to see you if I could onley [sic] come home for a few days just to see you & the Children once more”.  Lay awake last night thinking about them and thinks “oh how Bitter would be the parting of the second time & perhaps it would be better if god did not see fit to let [sic- missing “me”] come home just yet for it would be a hard thing for me to come back again.  I have often thought of our Parting  it was a hard one but it was perhaps for the Better.  I merely had a glimpse of all that I held most Dear on earth  I little thought to leave you so.”

 

Has heard often from the Regiment lately and how much they have suffered.  “That noble Band of men that left Rome last fall numbering about nine hundred men is now Reduced to about one hundred & seventy or eighty men  the Lieutenant Col Commands it now and them that are with the Regt writes to us that if we can posibly [sic] keep away from it we had Better for they say they have nothing but hardships & abuse  now the 4th Oneida has not seen much of the war yet  there are some of its members here in Convalisent Camp & I was talking with them & they say they have never seen a grey Back or Rebel yet   they have had a good time around the fortifications [sic] while our Regt has endured all the hardships and Privations of war”.  He has just gotten a couple of papers such as they distribute around every Sunday and will send them to her since he thinks she’s never seen them.  Lengthy closing “tell little Ida her papa will come home one of the days.” 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Near Alexandria Va., Friday August 28th [/ or 1] 63

 

Finally got her letter and one from Joey.  His health is good.  “I am sorry you have made up your mind to go [hoppicking? hop picking?] for now  I am afraid I will have no one to write to me that is all I Care about it”.  Not exchanged yet, doesn’t know if will be.  “Poor Dave Jones how I feel for him  if he would feel about it as I did I should never Care about Coming home if I was in his place  it is Horible [sic] to Contemplate I hope for his sake it is not so such news as that would Kill me  I would Rather hear my wife was dead than to hear that news god forbid that I shall ever hear it from my own home  But I can trust you  I have never Doubted you for you never gave me cause”. 

 

“The talk is here now if the Comisoners [sic] cannot agree on some terms of Exchange [crossed out “we will”] by next Monday we will all be sent to our own States  there seems to exist a great Dificulty [sic] about the Negro Soldier  it is the general Opinion we will not be Exchanged at all  I have now got 68 men under my Charge & feel power invested in me to act the same as Captain and my time is Ocupied [sic] some now what it used to be”.  Hopes to get home before they exchange him  “and then I hope it will be before you go a picking hops”. Lengthy closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., Sunday August 29th [/ or 1] 63

 

Is well but lonesome and sad.  “I have got things straightend [sic] around so now with my spread of men that I find more time than I thought I would have  yesterday I went and had another likeness taken for I want you to have a good one  Every one Prounounces [sic] this to be a good Picture of me as I know look.  I suppose I don’t look as I used to but one thing if I am alerted in looks you may Rest Asured [sic] that I am Not altered any way else onley [sic] I hope for the Better.”  Wants to see them.  All engrossed in talk of Exchange.  “the Officers here in Charge of us Say Arangments [sic] are already Completed to send us to our own States  I hope this is true But we cannot with any Certainty Rely upon what we hear.”  Nights are getting very cold but daytimes are comfortable. 

 

“Sometimes I wish if you have not gone a hop picking you would give it up & I don’t want you to stay at home so close neither  I am afraid you stay there to much for your own good and I am afraid if you go I will not hear from you very often  Dear Clara if you Onley [sic] knew how much I prize your letters you will not wonder at my Request  they are half of what I live [ of ff?] But if you wish to go I will not say nothing against it for I wish you to enjoy yourself as much as you can… But with me here it is far diferent [sic] I am surounded [sic] by plenty of Company none of the female kind though  & our Camp is situated on a Beautiful Rise of ground overlooking the Potomac River with its surface covered with sails & shiping.  Yet I am not satisfied.  There is a longing and craving which I cannot overcome & that Dear Clara is you and home.  I suppose by this time the draft has come has come [sic—repeats words] off in Utica.  I sincerely hope george is not one of the Unlucky ones for I would not wish him to suffer what little I have  god forbid that he will see as much of this terible [sic] struggle as I have  None can Conceive how terible [sic] it is untill [sic] they are actually engaged in it  I suppose I am not much more of a coward thatn the soldiers in general  yet the other night while I lay wide awake I began thinking of those hideous monsters called Shells that flew around us at Chancelorsville [sic] & the leaden misels [sic]  actually it made me leap rite [sic] up in my Bed and I couldent [sic] help it   oh it is terrible work this human Buchery [sic] and I hope it will soon be over with  Onely [sic] think of what this war has done over one hundred thousand brave men lay beneath the soil of Virginia alone  But I am [crossed out gettetin] getting Clean of [sic] the track of a soldier   these thoughts a true soldiers [sic] Banishes or rather tries to But I cant help Expressing my feelings sometimes.“  Lengthy closing.  Signed:

P.L.Dumont

Sergt in Charge  Squad No 11 Paroled Prisoners

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., Thursday Sept the 3rd  /63

[letterhead of woman in red with flag, Chas Magnus 12 Frankfort St N.Y.]

 

Got her letter and the paper but was ahead of her in getting the news:  “I am Glad george was not drafted for I should hate for to see him come if he did Not want to”.  Not exchanged and no signs of it.  Everyone is saying they are coming home but he’s afraid it’s just camp talk.  “To day I have been mustering the men for something I don’t know for what But I guess it is for pay  I am glad Sarah has come back for I think she is good Company for you  I hope she will turn out better than my acquaintance has  I have no need to hope for I know she will. That Mr Place I wrote home about has turned out to be one of the worst sort of men  he went to Washington and mixed himself in with mean women of that place and then came back & made his brags about it and Mr philip Smith has got so he Sports a woman at this Camp and she happens to be a nigger at that  he got in the Sutlers Shop here for Clerk and that is the way he spends his money he earns here  god help & keep me from such things  I don’t see how they Can do it & have a clear Concience [sic]. “  Describes how most all the boys go off to Washington and come back to brag about what bully times they have with women and most of them are married, but she will never hear that from him. 

 

Hopes to come home soon to see her and Ida and Willie.  “I hope they will both live to be good Children & be a blessing to us in old age if god Permits us to see it.  That Bill [Sweatfager?} has turned out as I expected  I suppose he is a subject for Virginia and Bill dagwell has got enough to Pay his 3 hundred dollars without feeling it but how many will have to come that have not got it to Pay  Charles Milburey is drafted I see by the papers  But what is Brother Henry going to do  I suppose he has not got his 3 hundred to pay & I don’t think his height will clear him for I have seen smaller men than him down here.”  Lengthy closing.  Signed:

Sergt P.L.Dumont

Comding Squad No 11 3rd division

Paroled Prisoners

a kiss to all

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole, Sept 8th 1863

 

Is well but quite lonesome.  Went to see the Lieutenant today who said he would write a recommend for him to get a furlough, showed him the Colonel’s recommend.  Lengthy description of how badly he wants to come home and is “not of any use  I am afraid the goverment [sic] will be the loosers [sic] by keeping us pened [sic] up so tight when they come to Exchange us if they ever do I am afraid the most of them will desert on purpose to get home  tomorrow is going to be a sad day here there is going to be a couple of Deserters Shot Close to our Camp I have heard some of our own boys tell there was 16 of them came here from the front a Couple of days ago and they witnessed the execution of them men out there.  They say it was the hardest thing they have seen since they have been down here  Most all was affected to tears. If so god knows I do Not want to see it.  Our boys that Came here have been put in the invalid Corps.  They are worn out gone up for active Service.  They was the Hardest Looking set of men I have Ever seen  they have suffered every thing this sumer [sic].  Ben Chapman the hardest looking & bigest [sic] man in the Regt is Broke down  he is here at Convalisent Camp  mother knows him very well.”

 

They are getting new clothing, he will have to get pants and stockings.  He doesn’t know when they’ll get paid.  They had orders to muster them but they were countermanded again.  “One of our Sergts that came from the Reg says we have been struck off of the Regimental Books & marked on Detached Service.  I nor no one else can tell what it means But it sounds as if we  were not going Back to the Regt very soon.  I have been a Prisoner of war now 4 months & 8 days and I begin to feel tired of this kind of life.  Wednsday [sic] the 9th Dear Clara I am feeling Quite well to day.”  The execution has been postponed.  Got a letter from the Regt saying “the Captain has gone back to take Command of his Company with one arm.”  Lengthy description of how much he misses home.  He wants to hear from her and if she is picking hops.  He wants to fill out this sheet but “the boys keep me getting up &  making out Passes & running after them all the time  I have been very busy making out Clothing Rolls all this week so far but I have got most through now  how Does Sarah graff feel now I wonder if she has most forgot Jake  I wish you & she could live together while I am gone  I think she would make good Company for you.”

 

He doesn’t hear anything from Tom,  the poor fellow didn’t want to go back to the Regt.  If Peter had known he would be in Camp so long he would have sent for her but it’s too late now.  It’s hard to find good company here:  “there is nothing but low and vulgar conversation going on all the time & I don’t wish to hear it you must lump it  But once in a while we can come across a few good ones but they are Chiefly to be found amongst old married men  I think you know Michael Keating  he has got so he don’t send any money to his wife at all but spends it amongst the women in elaxandria & Washington & Phil Smith & lib murray’s Brother has got something to Remember them by for some time to Come oh it is awful such doings in this world  I wonder what things are coming to I gues [sic] Phil or andy neither one sends any money home it is to [sic] bad but they have got Past taking advice and they wont have anyone Preach to them as they call it….if you ever hear any one write about me what I have wrote about them you Can make up your mind that I have gone Stark mad for as long as god gives me my Proper sence [sic] & faculties for reasoning you will never hear from me in such a way”.  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., Wednesday Sept 16th 1863

 

Health is good but sad & disappointed.  “Yesterday I went to the Great City of Washington & oh how I did wish I could of seen your Dear face there when I Came to see so many men & women who seemed to take so much Comfort in Each Other Society you cant tell how bad I felt & oh how much I longed to be at home with you & my little Ones.  I was in the war Department & I saw Dave Laughlin there & had Quite a talk with him  he told me he did not think there would be any more Exchanges So I can’t see what they are going to do with us Unless they do let us Come home.  I came home tired almost out about Dark last night & am sore all over to day I was in most all the Public Buildings the war Department the navy yard Smithonian [sic] institute & the Capitol so you see I had Quite a tramp of it oh I wish you could see it as well as me altogether it is Quite a sight worth seeing  we heard today they was giving out 15 hundred furloughts at Annapolis to one time for thirty days so may be if we have paitience [sic] over time may come yet it don’t seem to do any good to make an application for a furlough … Laughlin told me if my father went to [Rescoe?] Conklin & had him to intercede for me I might get a furough that way… a great many of the Boys have got them from Francis Kernin But Laughlin tells me he is on the wrong side of the house he has no influence at all that is the reason why they don’t get them.” 

Complains that they are making him be very strict, giving orders to the boys that he doesn’t want to but he must obey : “the Boys look to me to see if I wont be so hard on them but I must Do my duty or else Suffer myself for it  I will send you a couple of pictures for Ida & Willie they was given to me & I feel as if I wanted to send them something & don’t know what else I can send them  kiss them often for me  take good care of your health for my sake.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., Sunday Sept 20th 1863

[letterhead with two color pictures:  soldier with drum and flag and War Department building, Chas Magnus, 12 Frankfort St. N.Y.]

 

“Dear Clara

to day has been another long tedious Cold & lonesome Sunday  it has been so Cold here to day it was impossible to keep warm but for all that I am enjoying good health and hope you are all enjoying the same good health & now Dear Clara I suppose I will have to inform you of the news that we are all exchanged & will have to go to our Regts & just about now they are getting all ready for a big fight again out in front”.  Has been busy for a couple days getting more clothing and “there has about 18 hundred guns Come to this Camp which they say are for us  the Officers that is over me here in Command  told me this  morning that Lee thought we were all Exchanged this what I write to you is mostly imagination but I think it will prove to [missing “be’?] true.”  Says if he had had a chance to have come home he thinks would have gone back to the front cheerfully and willingly    but he hopes all will turn out well so don’t despair and keep spirits up.  He would die if he didn’t think the war would soon end, perhaps over the winter so they can come home in the spring. “Fletch don’t want to go to the Regt any more than what I do But I guess he will have to go with [missing word?] although they want him to the hospital so much he makes so good a nurce [sic].”  He gave Peter a present of a nice woolen shirt.  The Regt just got paid off so he won’t get paid and will have to wait for another payday before he can send her money.  He hopes she doesn’t suffer for anything as long as she has the means of getting it.

 

“Dear Clara my dream of seeing you this year has vanished I am afraid but still I have hope of seeing you sometime.  I think your last letter was a good one and oh how I do prize those little misels [sic] that come from you   if I could not hear from you then I would be sad indeed I never thought before I was married that I could love one so much as I do you  I would rather loose [sic] all the riches of the land than you Dear one & yet we must be parted but I feel it cannot be so forever.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., Sunday Sept 25th 1863

 

Got her letters, glad to hear she is well as he is.  “As soon as I got the recommend of Mr. Conklin I took it and went to the Lieutenant and he had just received an Order from the war Department  that we are all Exchanged  he let me read it & I found it was true so it was of no use going to Washington with the paper  But last night I went to him again and he said he would do all he could to get me a pass to go to Washington  So he wrote me a good Recommend for a Pass I took it and went to Head Quarters & the Col said he would like to give me a pass but his orders was not to let any one go out of the Camp  So I am to day writeing [sic] just the way things is I do not Believe it is wright I should have a furlough or else I would have had one long before now the way I have tried to get one”. 

 

They had orders to leave this morning but for some reason they didn’t.  Nobody believes him that they have been Exchanged because there is nothing in the papers about it. “They all think because the Rebels have been placed back in the field against [Rosearand?] & Burnside our goverment [sic] will do the same for Retaliation & if we are ever taken Prisoner again most likely we shall be shot for takeing [sic] up arms before we are exchanged  A dreadful feeling prevails amongst the Boys on that acount [sic]  I have been called away on Court Martial all day to day for pretty much  I have just heard that we will all go to the front to morrow morning.” Lengthy closing about wishing he had seen her one more time and take care of the children.

  

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., Sunday Sept 27th 1863

 

“To day has been one of the Most lonesome Sunday I believe I have ever seen since I have been down here  the eleventh & twelvth [sic] Corps of Paroled Prisoners have left this Camp & gone to join their Regiments fully armed for the front & it leaves the Camp Quite Naked & I am expecting every moment while I am writeing [sic] this letter to get Orders for the fifth Corps to go  fletch has been ordered to Report here to go with us  he feels very bad about going But that don’t do any good  he thought he was going to stay with the docters [sic] at the Hospital”.   Some complain about their health to get excused from going back but he “cant put on Cheek enough when nothing ails me  No I will go & when I cant go no farther then I will stop & have a Clear Concience [sic] that I have not tried to shirk my duty although I don’t want to go to the front any more than any other man  I have tried every way to get home to see you & my little ones & every means has failed so far   So I will try & feel Resigned to my fate  tell Ida her Pa will come one of these days & then her Pa will stay with her never to leave her any more  oh I would give the world to see you all once more Dear Clara if that would do it But it wont so we will have to hope & wait & put our trust in Providence Untill [sic] Brighter days dawn upon us & I feel that is not far distant for it seems as if the day must soon come when this war is ended  I was in hopes it would die out with the song (when this cruel war is over) but that is worn out some time ago & almost forgotten”  Lengthy statement that she must keep up her courage and not feel miserable and God will comfort her.  “I wish you was in another house for I am afraid you will suffer very much from the Cold in that old house you live in.”  If he could have been there for a few weeks he would have worked on making her comfortable but she’ll have to do it herself.

 

“Dear Clara you need not feel afraid of my ever deserting for that is the last thing I shall ever think of & I shall ever try to be Deserving  So if there is a chance of Promotion I shall try & be one on the list for it  I made a big jump over Quite a number of the Corporals & Sergst last winter & perhaps I may make another one this winter”.  Lengthy closing.

 

 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Parole Va., October 2 1863

 

Sorry she feels so bad about him going back to the Regt. and he feels bad about it too “But as a Soldier I must Obey Orders  For some Reason which I cannot acount [sic] for our Corps Still Remain at this Camp although we have been expecting to leave here every day  there is Considerable talk about our going down in Tenesee [sic] Under the Command of Gen Rosecrans the 11 & 12 Corps have left this Camp to go there.  I mean Paroled Prisoners.  I think it is an Undoubted fact that we are not Exchanged but are going to be Placed in the field in Retaliation for what the Rebels have done.  Quite a number of the men have been Placed in Confinement for Refuseing [sic] to take arms before they were exchanged  what they will do with them Remains to be seen  Fletch has been Ordered to Report in  Parole Camp & is now staying with me.”  Thinks his Corps is going to Tenessee and they will join them there. 

 

“I & fletch got a talking about Sarah graff & Jake last night & we would like to know what has become of Fred  Jake’s Brother  we have never heard from him since we have been Down here  also about that money of Jakes whether she (Sarah) ever go [sic] it or not   I would like to see Sarah & all old friends first Rate But oh dear Clara how much more would I give to see you & my little ones.  Dear Clara all you can do for me now is to pray for me that I may be Spared to you & our little ones  But at the same time Pray that I may become Better than what I ever have Been  pray that I may Become one of gods followers & live to him & for him onley [sic]  Fletch says all that he feels is his great sins & expresses a great determination to Seek god  I hope he may   every Soldier should feel the same as he does  I think if we were all good men in this war it would of come to a close long before now But generally [sic] they are wicked very wicked indeed.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Near Culpeper Va., October the 8th 1863

 

Left Convalescent Camp Monday and arrived at this Camp late in the day and “everything has bewildered my head so I could not write before this  it seems as if I cannot get acustomed [sic] to the old Camp life again & now I must tell you about our Regt it has altered Considerable since I last saw it & has now Become so it is looked upon with pride by the whole of our Corps  while they are drilling Officers from other Regts come to see & admire them  But it is very hard for the Boys to drill the new drill  if they could be seen in Utica to day Uticans would look on them with wonder  as soon as we got to the Regt they sent for the Uniform for us & to day they have got guns for us the Boys was just paid off when we got here.”  They are settling up the years clothing account and some are in a great deal of debt to the government.  “I don’t know how much I owe Uncle Sam but I guess I will find out this after noon”.  They have been ordered to be ready to march but he doesn’t know where.  Expects it is way out in front and they are going to fall back around Washington.  The have had 8 days rations ordered and there is talk of getting them again so they will be gone for some time.  Closing.

Direct your letters like this

Sergt P.L. Dumont

Co A 146 NY Vols

5th Corps

Washington DC

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at New Baltimore Va., Five Miles from warington, Oct the 22nd 1863

 

Just got back in Camp after 13 days, has had a hard time of it, feet are sore and ankles swollen.  “We have been Retreating & advancing sometimes Driveing [sic] the enemy & sometimes they drove us   at one time we were at Fairfax fifteen miles from Washington & then we would advance & the Rebs would Skedadle & all this time we have been carrying the load of a horse  they have kept 8 days Rations on our back all the time  there has been some pretty hard fighting but as luck would hav eit we did not get into it.  We have taken Quite a Number of Rebel Prisoners & they the Rebs have taken some of ours but Not near as many  it has been one of the hardest marches I ever saw   we was at it Night & Day.”  Glad they are stopped for they need rest.  He doesn’t know what General Mead’s intentions are but thinks they will lay here for a few days.  Sorry he hasn’t written and there is no mail anyway.

 

we had 96 Conscrips come to our Regt on the Battle field & the [sic] looked most scared to death it was a Bad time to Bring them to us But they are all right now & improve the looks of our Regt very much by filling up its thinned and vacant Ranks  Poor fletch had to march one day on his stocking feet the soles of his shoes came off & he could not get any more  he had very Bad feet But we are all where we can Rest & get Recruited up a little now. “

 

“You spoke about seeing Bill dagwell on the street  I answered his letter imeadiately [sic] & you say you have found out what that is about me & after writeing [sic] a page & a half about telling me you have not done so yet  in your letter you kept saying you would tell me But after Reading it over a number of times I could not find it so you will have to write about it again for upon my honor I do not know what it is & it has never Been told me  Tom is well & feels so  But he thinks Julia is at home I shouldn’t wonder if I did not have to write him a letter this afternoon to send to her it will be a Month yet if not more Before we get any pay & I hope you will not come to want Before that time” [no closing]

 

[Loose page that appears to be the closing for letter of October 22, 1863]

 

“& Rest asured [sic] that I have not forgotten you & the little ones Because you did not hear from me sooner than this the most that I cared about it was I might get wounded & then it might Be a long time Before you heard from [sic-missing ‘me’] But I must Come to a Close  Give my love to mother & all at home & to Sarah graff & all enquireing [sic] friends take good care of the little ones & your self  may the Blessing of heaven attend you all Untill [sic] we meet again  write soon

From you Husband Ever Untill [sic] Death  with love good By Untill [sic] you hear from me again  your & yours only

Sergt P.L. Dumont”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], New Camp No name, Oct  26th 1863

 

Left Camp at New Baltimore Saturday afternoon and marched 4 or 5 miles through mud and rain, then the next day was Sunday and they marched another mile to a New Camp where they now are with 8 days rations.  “While I am writeing [sic] heavey [sic] Cannonading is going on Close to us But I don’t know what I is  the Orderly just told me that there was a mail going out at 5 o clock so I am writeing [sic] this in a great hurry in order to get it in the next mail.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp Near warrington junction, Oct. 31st 1863

 

They are at another new camp and he doesn’t know when they will stop moving .  “We have been on the move now about 4 weeks & have had a pretty hard time of it for a great wonder my health is good for I have been marching almost without any shoes that is they have been open so the water could run into them at every step & I have had wet feet most all the time  But last night I got a new pair so to day my feet feels quite Comfortable”.  The weather is nasty and rainy.  They are to be mustered for four months pay but he thinks it will be 3 or 4 weeks before they get it.  “I would like you to write how much money you have got for I think you must be most out & if Dagwell offers you any you had better take it for you may need it  I have got a little yet I brought ten cents down with me when I came to the Regt & since I have been here I made a picture to send to you & was offered 50 cents for it & sold it so I will make another & send to you as soon as we get settled. Once more our new uniform has come to day that is for the men that has lately joined our Regt we have had Conscripts come here 3 times since I have been here & we have now about 250 of them altogether & more coming  we will soon have a Big Regt again  the 146 is getting a great name in the army of the Potomac But we never hear anything Spoke about it at home  I don’t Believe a Better Class of men ever left the State & yet there is no praise for them  the old general that is Garrard is looked upon with pride by the whole Brigade & the Boys in the Regt feel very sorry that they lost him for a Col  it is not as it used to be the Boys all hated him when we first came out but now they all love him as a father.”    Asks her to send a couple postage stamps because he cant get them. 

 

“We have been expecting to have a big fight for 3 weeks past but so far we have kept clear of it except we had Quite a Battle at Bristow Station we double Quick it on to the field and got there just as the Battle ended the Rebels lost about 500 in killed and wounded  ours not near as much  I thank god with all my heart that we have been very lucky so far but there is a long time to come yet  I wish I could see the end of it.”   Apologizes for not writing oftener but it is not possible.  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp 3 miles Beyond Kelleys ford, Monday Nov 9th 1863

 

“We have fought in a couple more Battles in the army of the Potomac  one was on Saterday [sic] & the other was fought yesterday  what was accomplished yesterday I have not yet learnt  the one on Saterday [sic] was a decided success to us the Rebs lost a great Number in killed & wounded & we took about 22 hundred prisoners besides driveing [sic] them into the River & drowning a good many of them & 9 pieces of artillery”.  Hasn’t answered her letter because they have been moving and have had no chance and no way to send it.  Cold and first snow of season.  Doesn’t know where they are going but “I think we are going to follow the enemy up  we are ocupying [sic] the grounds that they have left & where they meant to stay this winter they had splendid log huts built all ready for winter one of our Boys found an unfinished letter in one of the Cabins & he was writeing home (a Rebel) & he wrote that we (the yanks) had fallen back around Washington and the fighting was over in Virginia.  But our shells had the effect to induce him to believe that all the yanks was not gone yet for he must of left his letter in great haste Everything shows how they was surprised by leaving things behind them  we have to  Back the 8 days Rations yet it seems as if we can not advance this way a great ways farther for the Rail Road is a complete Ruin all the way along & that is the only way we can get our supplies.”  The track is all torn up and burned.  Tom just got mail with a package with gloves and a couple hankerchiefs. They are going to put Tom in the invalid corps and this is probably the last move he will make because he is not fit for field service.  “oh how I wish this terible [sic] slaughter would end & we have the Privelage [sic] of Returning to our homes & families.”  “Old Gen Garrard was engaged in the fight of Saturday but he came out all right”.  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Kelleys ford Va., Nov 13th 1863

 

The weather is good but cold nights.  She is worried about his clothing and he has not suffered much yet from cold except his hands.  “We have gone through much & suffered a great deal in the past few weeks but thank god I am well and getting rested now.  I have often wanted to send home for something but I know it takes money and that is what keeps me from sending  I never think of myself at all I am always thinking of you & the little ones & if you are comfortable & not in want  I can earn a little money by my pencil down here so I think you had better keep what you have I have made 2 pictures & got a dollar for them so you see I am not very bad off yet.  I could not wear Boots with this uniform if you could send them.”  She shouldn’t try to live on a dollar a week and starve herself and the little ones.  He is going to be able to send her 50 dollars in a few days.  “Tell Kate and hank I wish them much joy & I think it about time they let up.  I rember [sic] the thanksgiving we were happy then & I hope again to be so.  Tell me what hank is doing now.  Who takes Ida & willie to Sunday Shool [sic]  I should think willie was to small to go.”  He want to subscribe to the papers for her because they would be company for her.  “I am glad your Bean comes so often to see you I wish we could be sitting in one others houses as we used we took a great deal of Comfort in those days but did not realize it I often think of Jake & wish he was here with me I always thought as much of him as I did of a Brother But I hope he is Better off than what he would be down here .  I will send Ida a picture to keep her Remembering me I drawed it in a hurry & painted with another fellows paint  I wish you would get mally to get me some cheap water colors & some drawing paper & brushes & do them up in a Package & send them to me  they wont cost much tell her to get dark Blue light Blue Crimson light Red white India Ink Crome yellow green light green & a number 1 pencil.”  He doesn’t know how long they’ll be here but they are fixing it up like they would be here all winter. Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Kelleys ford Va., Friday Nov 20th 1863

 

Got her letter but doesn’t know why she isn’t getting his, must be problem with the mail going out.  They have been in one battle but he wrote to her twice since then.  “I am sorry to hear you have lost one of your front teeth and your hair is getting grey.  But I shall never think the less of you for that as long as you are what you have always been.  I pray for you every night that you may keep your health & that we may soon meet again  the Reason why the Boys of our Regt has got furloughs was Because they was taken sick & went to Washington & there was an Order isued [sic] for them all what was in hospitals to have furlough to go home & vote  So you must not be surprised if I cannot get one here from the field.”  Expects he would be refused if he asks unless he happens to get sick and end up in the hospital. 

 

They are still in the same place as where he wrote from before and still carry 8 days rations.  “I think we will go up to Culppepper [sic] & stay there for a while like as not we will try to cross the Rappadan Before winter sets in & have another Chancelorville [sic] fight.”  No one knows but all think the war will end by spring.  He can’t write often because they are moving and he only has 2 or 3 sheets of paper and he will have to borrow an envelope.  There are no Sutters anywhere to buy anything.  “Tell me how you lost your tooth and Be Careful & don’t loose [sic] any more…if you should happen to loose [sic] all of your teeth & your hair turn to white I will love you as ever as I Promised Before god and man.”  Closing.  “P.S. I am third Sergt now.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp near Paolia Mills Va., Tuesday Nov 24th 1863

 

“We just returned from another mud march.  We started this morning about Daylight to Cross the Rappidan River to have another fight with the enemy  But Before we had Reached 5 miles from Camp it Comenced [sic] Raining & we got stuck in the mud again But not as bad as last winter & the Order was given to get Back into Camp again  So here we are after a hard tramp throught the mud  I Don’t think we will stay here long if the weather will permit of our moveing [sic] for gen Meade seems Determined to have another fightBefore going into winter Quarters  But it has got to be the time of year that we cannot Depend upon the weather at all & then we have had a very open fall & generaly [sic] one extreme follows another so we cannot tell what is going to be done But one thig is Cerain  if the weather will permit you may expect to hear of another great battle being fought near Fredericksburg for the Rebs will not give up the other side of the Rappidan without a great Struggle”.   The army is getting paid off and all are paid except his regiment.  “I made a coupld of Pictures one Saturday & one yesterday & got a dollar for them so you see I can keep myself in spending money for we do not get any Chance to spend any there has been no Suttlers allowed in front since we fell back from Culpepper and the Boys have been in a great State for tobacco  there is but little to be seen & extraordinary Prices are asked for it.”

 

He thinks it will be a few days before they can move again but the weather looks unsettled.  Tom has had all his things turned in and will probably be in Washington but he may stay with them until they move again.  It looks like Tom will get his discharge since he’s not worth a great deal in the army:  “he has had something the matter with him ever since he has been down here.”  Lengthy closing hoping God will spare them to meet again.  “A kiss”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Bealton Station Va, [ca. mid –December 1864]

[Undated, probably mid-December 1863, mentions her letter of December 7, starting building winter quarters, Tom to invalid Corp, Camp at Bealton Station which is location of December 25 1863 letter]

 

“Dear Clara

I Received your letter of Dec [1 or 7?] last Evening & was glad to hear that you was all well  I am Sorry to hear that you have got a Bad Cold I am afraid that you expose yourself to the Cold weather to [sic] much  if you have not got Clothing enough you must Buy it  Remember your health Before anything else  without that you might as well be with the Dead  I am in hopes that the sore on willies [sic] head wont [sic] amount to much  we are now Building up win ter [sic- spanned two lines] Quarters in hopes that we Shall Stay here through the winter Yesterday they had the Report around Camp that gen [p. 2] Meade was Superseded [sic]   But as a general thing it is not Believed  we have got most tired of Changing [sic] our generels [sic] in the armey [sic] of the Potomac  it Creates a great deal of disatisfaction [sic] amongst the men.  Yesterday our old Capt Came Back  he looks first Rate & he was Received By the Boys with a great deal of aplause [sic]  he is a good man and I am glad he has Come Back  I have Been to work to day Lugging logs to Build my Shanty for this winter  I wish you could See the Shanty we have to live in here for winter  it would suprise [sic] you and make you Laugh at the same time  [p.3]  But a soldier Can live in any kind of a place and I Believe Can endure more than any other person in the world.  We have Been now for most a month past liveing [sic] on about half what we want to eat  it Comes from their giving us those 8 days Rations & it was imposible [sic] for us to Carry them when they gave them to us & now they are trying to Make them up on us.  By giveing [sic] us one day for two  the talk is now that we wont get paid Untill [sic] next month on the acount [sic] of most of the boys not haveing [sic]  anything Comeing {sic] to them   they are Settling up the years Clothing account & that is why they havent [sic] any thing Comeing [sic]  the last of this [p.3] month I will have a hundred Dollars Comeing [sic] to me  you must take all you can get from other folks to get along Untill [sic] I can send you some  Our Sutler Come here to day [sic] But the Boys have not got any money to Buy any thing [sic] with   Tom went from here to go into the invalid corps  But I must Close give my love to all of the folks and take good Care of yourself & little ones  hopeing [sic] to hear from you soon I Remain yours ever & ever with love god Bless you all

Sergt P L Dumont

P.S.

Send me a little Black linnen [sic] thread in a letter

 

  

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], [no location], Sunday Dec the 20th, 1863

 

Thinks she’s not getting his letters but he has gotten hers and everything she has sent.  They have gotten back across the Rappidan.  He has built a tent with a stove to try to keep warm.  “We have suffered so much of late from exposure that most any kind of habitation seems good to us & we are drawing Soft Bread now every day   But I cant get enough to eat.  Sometimes I draw my loaf at night & I am so hungry that I eat it all up at one meal & then go without Untill [sic] the next night   our loafs are very small.”  He thinks that if they stay for a while they will get enough and everyone is sending home for boxes.

 

“Last night Phil Smith and Tom Wheeler came back to the Regt  Phil told me he had seen the whole family but he had his head so full of nonsence I could not get any thing out of him”.  The sutler and paymaster stay away but he hopes to be paid next week.  He worries she’ll suffer in the cold house.  “This week they Isued [sic] an order to grant furlough for ten days apiece & to be given to the men that had been in every Battle and had been present at the Regt all the time first & then the Paroled Prisoners & Hospital Boarders as they call them.   Come next it may be possible for me to get one and it may not I will do the Best I Can.” 

 

A corporal got a letter from Tom in Washington in the Invalid Corp  “such a letter I never Read in all my life  Most every other word was acompanied [sic] with an Oath  he never Spoke about me at all & Before he went away he never Bid me good by or said any thing at all onley that he was going  I think he Served Me a rather mean trick considering how much I have Done for him  I have done more for him that I would of done for any other man  But you see I got my pay for it.”  He was hoping they were done moving for the year but there is talk they will be moving closer to Washington.  He hopes they can stay where they are for he has built a warm shanty.  Lengthy sentimental closing wishing he had been able to come home. P.S. in margin that he went to the railroad and bought two small but expensive loaves but it was better than going hungry.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Bealton Station, Christmas Morning Dec the 25 /63

 

Got her letter and glad to hear all are well.  Nothing going on in Camp, they got paid and the Boys are trying to spend Christmas buying things from the Sutler.  “I am going to send you a Christmas present in the Shape of 50 dollars  I don’t know of anything Else that I could send you that would be as acceptable as money for I know you must want it.   The paymaster surprised them because they weren’t expecting him until the middle of the following month.  But in 6 more days they will be mustered for another 2 months.  “You spoke about my Bed  I have got it about 3 feet from the Ground & it is made of Poles Covered with Cedar Boughs.  It is Equal to a feather bed Compared with what we have had for the past 2 months.  I will send you a picture some day how my house looks Inside & Out side.”  He’s sorry she didn’t get his first letter because there was a lot of news in it.  He got everything she sent including the paints and paper. 

 

“I expect James [Wandwright?  Handwright?] of our Co will be Coming Home in a few days on furlough.  I wish I had something to send by him to you or the Children  you must take a couple of Dollars of this money & Buy Something for the Children & tell them I sent it to them for Christmas  Steve Lent I believe is Coming Home on furlough  Oh how I wish I [missing “could”?] Be there on New Years with you & the Children But I cant So I will have to make the Best of it  But I hope you will all enjoy yourselfs and not let the absence of me interfere with your happiness.  I wish you all a happy Christmass & New year & if Onley [sic] the Openeing of another New year Should Bring with it Peace & a Reconciliation Between us two Hostile People what a gladness would fill the Hearts of Many of Our noble men that are now away far away to day from their Homes & firesides.  God grant that the Coming new year may Bring Peace & Joy to our Unhappy Land which Traitors Sought to destroy & overthrow.”  But he feels the time is not yet coming.  He bought some cakes and cheese and apples from the sutler for indulgences.  He hopes they aren’t so expensive that she can’t buy them.   Lengthy closing, concerned about mail and money getting through.  “A kiss & a happy Christmass”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction, Wendsday [sic] Dec 30th 1863

 

“I am Sergt of Camp Guard to day & am writing to you from the guard House  Mr Edic came back late last night & to day he was placed in the guard House in my Charge  he overstayed his furlough 3 days but I hardley [sic] think anything will be done with him for he says it is not his fault but some accident on the Rail Road that detained him.”  The things she sent were like a surprise party for him because he wasn’t expecting anything and thanks her very much.  “Tell Ida Bless her little heart that candy was good she sent me it is the first I have had since I left home tell her Pa eat it all up.”  The picture she sent of Ida is all worn out from being in his pocket.  He was surprised they moved to Warrington Junction and didn’t want to move because he had set up a nice camp, but it was because of the men reenlisting. 

 

“The Country around here is infested very thick with Gurrillas [sic] & our duty Picket duty is very heavy on us at Present 25 men out of a Company at one time.  The Gurrillas [sic] have become very Bold around here of late  they are making Raids on us nightly & very frequently we find our men Surprised where there is a Small Squad doing duty Striped [sic] of all their clothing & their throats cut from Ear to Ear. “ They slept with pieces loaded the night before last expecting an attack.  Hopes she got the $50 for Christmas.  They will be mustered in for another 2 months pay.

 

“2 days after to day we of the 146 will be in this Rebellion 3 different years  1862 1863 & 1864  So if it should end this winter we would be in this war three years after all.”  Lengthy wish for peace and determination to win.  “The soldiers have Suffered and Endured So Much through the folly of Rebels they all unite one other in saying that there Can Be No Peace Untill Every Vestige of Rebelion [sic] is Swept from the face of the earth & all seem Determined in their Resolve  the feeling is far different from what it was last winter  then they wanted Peace on any Terms  But it is not so now.”  Is going to start build a shanty because he’ll have to sleep on the ground until he does so.  Lengthy closing.

 

 

[1864]

 

[1858][1862][1863][1864][1865] [1880]

 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction, Sunday Jan 3rd 1864

 

Was glad to get her letter and hear from her “But at the same time it brought News which I did not wish to hear that was about yourself & mother  But I am in hopes this will find you all well again  I am in hopes you have Received that money long Before now because it was to [sic] much for us to loose [sic].”  She shouldn’t have sent him all the money she had and he doesn’t want her to do that again because she might need it.  He is in the same place but hasn’t had time or an ax to put up a shanty.  James [Handwright?] went home on furlough and he hopes he will stop to see her.  “I hear that the Orders has been given to stop these ten day furloughs on the account of So many Reinlisting [sic] into the Veteran Corps & so many are leaving the armey at present.”  He told Jimmy to tell her how hard it was to get a furlough so she wouldn’t think he didn’t try.  He almost begrudges others who do get a furlough.  Mr. Edic is still in the guard house for overstaying his furlough but he did give Peter everything she sent.

 

“I forgot to tell you we had another Execution in Our Division about Chrismass  it was a Deserter He was taken out about One Oclock  the Division drawn up in Line So all could see him & a few minutes afterwards a number of balls Pierced his Breast  I was Spared the painful Sight for I was Sergt of guard that Day & was left to guard the Camp  Onley [sic] me & three men on guard was left in Camp.  Last night I drawed a picture by Candle Light & I will send it to Ida tell her how her Pa wears such Clothes  Fletch is in Command of the Company for a Couple of days & I am acting Orderly in [Handwright’s] place.”  The weather is very cold but strangely there’s no snow.  They have had 5 or 6 die suddenly in the past 3 weeks and they can’t tell what it’s from:  “I think it is with Exposure to the weather  you see we have to be Out in the cold & Rain & all kinds of weather & we keep a cold all the time  you must take good care of that leg of yours or you may have a Bad one of it”.  Hopes Mother and all are well by the time she gets this letter.  “take good Care of the little ones & don’t let them freese [sic] to death in that Old Shanty”.  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction Va, Monday December the 11th 1864 [sic – content and location indicate that it was probalby written on January 11, 1864]

 

“I have just returned from Guard Duty on the Rail Road where I have been for two days & when I Came Back I Received a letter from you  Our duty is very hard on us here   while we are on guard we can not Sleep at all 48 hours we have to Stay on Post without Sleep & when we come into Camp Some of them have to go Back again  But if Nothing happens we shall get along well Enough  I have got another Shanty Built up & yesterday I made a picture of it which I will send to you together with a letter from a soldier of how we Live fight & Die  it is the most true of anything I have ever Seen in Print  You Spoke about my Reinlisting [sic] there is Not money Enough in America to get me to Enlist again  No Clara if I Ever get Out of this Scrape alive & well I Shall Remain at home Contented the Rest of my life.”

 

The weather is twice as cold as last winter and they’ve had two snowstorms already with 6 inches of snow on the ground.  He sold the two pocket handkerchiefs and the thing she sent him to wear around his neck.  He’s hoping they’ll get paid next pay day and he’ll send her money.  “You spoke about Bill [Morey?] enlisting again  this is the Onley [sic] place for such men as Him  Here we can keep them away from whiskey & women  a Bully Place for men that don’t know how to Behave at home  every once in a while some one keeps hearing something about his wife what she is doing while he is gone  oh I Believe I should go Crazy & Shoot myself if I Should hear such things about you  So far I have never herd [sic] anything about you & I hope I never shall  I Believe I have a good wife & one that loves me & I love her in Return  I hope god may Spare us to meet again & live & take comfort in one another Society   James [Wandwright?] is two days over his time on furlough now & I don’t know what will be done with him when he comes back  that Mr [Edic?] has been Released from the guard house & one months pay taken away from Him  He is as you Say a good man & deserves Better treatment but every one must Pass through a course of Milatary [sic].”  Lengthy closing, encourages her to keep from catching so much cold because he worries so when she is sick.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction, Friday Jan 15th 1864

 

Has been on fatigue in the woods and is now writing by candle light.  Is healthy.  “I am glad to hear that some one is good enough to help you if it is Old gleaves & I am glad to hear that you can keep warm for I was much afraid you would suffer in that Old House this winter  I am liveing [sic] first rate now if they will just let us stay where we are  I have Bunks Built in my Shanty so I can keep off the ground”.  Jimmy Handwright returned from furlough and he “said he Passed by the house quite a number of times but did not see ay of you & he was not well enough acquainted with my folks to go there on Purpose.”  He bought an ax for a dollar fro a soldier who reenlisted.  “You spoke about Fletch does his folks say anything about his money I know he has Sent a few times to his Sister But then he spends an awful Sight to the Sutlers for Nic Nax.  I told Phil Smith what you wrote about his father but he don’t seem to Care  you don’t know what an awful differance [sic] it makes to be in the army a little while.  I am glad to hear you say that folks Speak well of me that goes home  I try to be good to every one but there are a few always wherever you may go that don’t want to have any one above themselves  you see I have to tell them to do something about Camp such as Cleaning up & they don’t like to do it very well Some times but they have to obey me just as much as if the Col told them to do it.  Phil Smith is one of that kind.  I don’t have to do a bit of work unless I have a mind to  all I am Supposed to do is the Bossing & this is what they don’t like  I try to be good to every one & I wish all to be the same to me.”

 

Says he has to tell her about something that he wasn’t going to but he cant keep it a secret:  “It was on last new years eve it was one of the most Severst Cold nights I have ever seen  the Col drawed 18 gallons of whiskey for the Regt I I was one that had to go to the Commisaries after it  after I had drawed it I had to stand around in the cold about an hour & I came near freezing.  So I up with a Big pail that had some in it and drinked a Big Swallow of it & Before I knowed it I was drunk  But I felt sorry & ashamed imediately [sic] after  don’t let it trouble you for I have Swonrn never to become a drunkard  what makes me feel so worked up about it is because I have had it offered to me so many times by the Officers & I have always Refused & now they have got Some thing to laugh about”.

 

Captain [Clasgens?] and Lieut Dutton have gone to Utica to recruit and she may see them.  He wishes he could have gone.  “Yesterday we took 16 of Mosbys gurillas [sic] at this place”.  Tells her to take good care of her leg or she might lose it and she could tell folks she had been to war.  Closing.

[sketch of bird with banner reading TO THOSE I LOVE AT HOME]

“Sergt P.L. Dumont & Lady

I wanted to see how this would look”

 

“Later”

[a half sheet folded with letter}

He just got her letter and glad to hear all are well.  They are still not getting enough to eat in camp but to buy anything seems like taking bread out of her and the children’s mouths.  Tom was not sick and felt well but “he was covered all over with Bunches I don’t know whether they will hurt him or not”.  So unhappy he hasn’t made it home.  Lengthy sentimental message.  “Dear Clara if they tell you that I will be an altered man Believe it will be altered for the Better   you know that I can not Drink or run with mean women & I hope & pray that you will never know me as such and as forgetting you or leaving it is the last thing I think of   as the thirsty man panteth after water so my heart panteth after you oh  Dear Clara… The Boys laugh at me when I don’t get a letter they say Pete or the Seargeant is love sick again  they can see something is the matter of me… the song you sent me is a good one But it has been sung out long ago by the soldiers I rember [sic] its thrilling notes while marching on to Chancelorsville Battle field.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction Va., Friday Jan 22nd 1864

 

Got her letter and was glad to hear from her and get pictures.  “I think the pictures are very nice onley [sic] I would of Liked them Better if they had of been Card de Visites But they are very welcome as it is you see this kind of Picture Spoils Very easy   the Children grows & look well & hearty which I am glad to see  ask [Melora Teed?] who she is making that Shimmer  for perhaps she is making it for some body to look at I supposed she has growed so I would hardly regonize [sic] her now  But I hope she has growed good also I have got a letter from her & I thank her very much for it”.   He is happy to get a letter from anyone at home.  She is wrong, the door hinges are not leather but cloth.  “do you think I would have leather hinges that would make it look like a Barn  But you see it looks like a Pig Pen  the Picture looks a great deal better than the House.”  He has been pretty sick with diarrhea:  “The Docter give me Sweet Oil & Laudlum to check it & I have suffered everything almost since for after that I could get nothing to pass my bowels for a great many days  But I am getting better now.” 

 

No more furloughs, but when they resume it will only be for those “whose friends are Not Expected to live at home.  I should like very much to see you all if I Possibly Could this Winter But I hardley Believe I will have a chance.  I have had it hinted Once to me that fletch was coming home to Recruit But I don’t know whether it is so or not  if it is so he is lucky  I don’t Begrudge him the chance but I would like the chance very well myself.  I rember [sic] the Rats Melora Speaks about very well.  I wonder if Rats Bother her now.  I wouldent be Supprised [sic] if two legged Rats Began to Bother her by this time  wont george be gentleman enough to take you out a Sleigh Rideing [sic].  I wish you had one by the way how is the little sleigh can you use it this winter for willie & the wagon  I shouldent wonder by this time it is about played out”.  He wishes for a furlough but it would be hard to leave again and he would be hunted down as a deserter.”

 

Lengthy closing that continues across the back page writing in the other direction and ends:

 

“From your Husband with love Untill Death

Sergt P.L.Dumont

Co A 146 Regt &

Zouave Vols

Girard Tigers

Army of the Potomac”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction Va., Thursday Jan 28th 1864

 

Got her letter and feels so bad she was upset about him drinking whiskey that he writes a full legal-size page of apologies and promises for it never to happen again, excerpted here.  “But I cant blame you for I suppose you have seen Enough of the effects of Lichor in you life…Oh Clara I have sworn never to become a Drunkard & I mean to keep my Promise.  I have had temptation upon temptation but it has had no effect upon me.  Sometimes I Think I have incurred the displeasure of the Officers by not Partaking of what they termed a Sociable glass. … I always Refuse & they hardly know what to make of it.  You tell me to look at them little faces & try to be good for their Sakes.  Oh Clara you  Don’t know how Bad these Remarks made me feel Coming from you who I have loved so much.  But I feel they are just & Right.  It has been my Chief Object to try & be good & do as you would have me.  But it was almost as much of an acident [sic] my being so as anything else.”  He just did it to keep from freezing and maybe it’s not as bad as she thinks. 

 

He is on Guard and it is 10:30 at night but he has left a Corporal in charge and come in to his shanty to write so the letter will go out in the morning.  “About 4 o’clock this afternoon intimation that the gurrillaas [sic] would attack us to night.  The Regt was all turned out imeadiately [sic] & commenced to Erect Obstructions about the Camp &vnow we are awaiting them To give them a warm Reception in Case they come. The men have orders to Sleep on their arms with their Catridge [sic] Boxes on But my tent mates are Snoreing [sic] Soundly while I am writeing [sic] this letter.  Perhaps they are dreaming of home instead of Being Attacked by Gurrillas.  The Moon is Shining Bright & it will be hard work for them to Surprise [sic] us to night.  But I do not have much fears of their Coming.  Henry Brownell of [Saguoit?] is here on a visit  he was very glad to see me & I to see him.  He is going home tomorrow night & I will send a Relic of Mine Run by him.  It is an old Revolver thrown away by the Rebels at the last Place we went to attach them.  I have Scoured it up & put a wooden Cilender [sic] into it the other one being thrown away or lost by the Rebs.  I have Carried it all Over in my knapsack because it was a relic of war & was small & Light to carry.  What you say about lotty I can hardley credit yet it may be true.  If she likes him & is willing to live with him through life I suppose that is all that is required.  I hope he will make a good Husband for her.  I was going to Say Some thing else But I guess I wont  about the other one you know.”

 

Lengthy closing.  “How I long to be home with you and my little ones.  But the grim monster of war must appease his appetite before we shall meet again I fear.  I also received a letter from Sister Joey together with a likeness of mother.  How naturel she does look.  I feel Proud of it.” Closing

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction Va., Saturday Feb the 6th 1864

 

Has been out on Rail Road guard for 2 days, very sleepy.  Heavy cannon firing in front of them from early morning until dark.  Hopes it will die down otherwise they’ll have to head out in the mud into battle.  Prays for dead on both sides.  Doesn’t feel those at home have as much sympathy for the dead as those in the field who “are used to seeing death at wholesale & every day”.  They just read the numbers and don’t think any more of it. Last night they took 7 guerillas and one was a major.  All were sent to Washington.  “I am glad that Cone & Stanford is arrested & I hope all may get what is comeing [sic] to them.  I heard that Stanford was up some time ago for defrauding the govrment [sic].  I shall never forget how he cheated Jake’s wife out of that money  it was Shameful & most Disgraceful act to take the advantage of a woman in her situation”.  He often thinks of it because they were dear friends.  “I have heard some things about Sarah Since I have Been down here But I would not Believe it for all the world if they had sworn to it.  I think she thought to [sic] much of Jake to ever disoner [sic] his name.”

 

He doesn’t know when the paymaster will come.  He wants to come home so bad but takes comfort in looking at their faces.  He knows Willie won’t know him but thinks Ida will remember.  Lengthy closing with sketch of Zouave with gun.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction, Feb 8th 1864

 

Short pencil letter on half sheet.  He has been preparing a letter for the Herald which he will send with this and asks her to have father drop it at the Herald Office.  Fighting seems to have ceased on the Rappidan and he doesn’t know the particulars except they took a number of prisoners who are passing by on the Rail Road by squads.  It was a reconnaissance accomplished by their army.  They are to have a review of their Division at one o’clock and he is in a hurry.

 

“You need not tell many that I wrote this piece if it appears in Print for they would laugh at you”.  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction Va., Friday Feb the 11th 1864

 

Got her letter and Joey’s and glad all are well as he is.  Fighting is quieted.  They had 200 killed, missing, or wounded.  Took some prisoners but not as many as originally thought.  Hopes war will end in July as she says but they try not to get their hopes up too much.  “I will not believe that [major? Mayor?] if I was in your place for I cant see how a man can go to wasington [sic] & get such a position without doing some thing more for the service than recruiting”.   She said Julia was upset that Tom didn’t send money but maybe he didn’t get it.  They are owed money.  Why doesn’t Clara get upset when Peter doesn’t send money.  He should get $68.  In a few days he will have been in the service 18 months.  Fletch went out on picket and came back sick.  Their duty is less, which is good because they hardly had time to wash clothes.

 

Joey writes that this cruel war has taken all she had to live for but “she will learn a lesson that many has had to Suffer for what this Cruel war has done how many Bitter tears have been shed.  How many families have been broken up how many Children have become fatherless. How many widows have this cruel war left with large families to support & no means to do it with.  We cannot even advance a Picket line without causing Sorrow in some northern home.  I have been Right in the face of the enemy where there has been heavy fireing [sic] & see the men look at one another in wonder if they shall ever get out of it alive or not.  Perhaps while they are yet talking they would be launched into eternity  all have their hope that all may end well  But many  very many  are doomed to Bitter disapointment [sic] for we cannot move toward the enemy without Somebody’s life must [crossed out “pay the”] Be Sacrificed. God speed the day when this Cruel war is over & when Peace and Quiet is restored all over the land.”

 

Doesn’t blame her for trying to get all she can: “If you can get 2 dollars a week from Baker I think this is nobodys Business but your own & then the City subscribed a large amount for soldiers families & I believe you come under that heading.  Perhaps you will need all you have and more two [sic] before I get any pay again.”  Some say they won’t get paid because they are paying large bounties and the treasury is exhausted at Washington.  He doesn’t know if it is true but she had better prepare for it. Lengthy closing written sideways across the last page of writing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], [Undated and No Location probably February of 1864, mentions Valentine’s Day, Guarding General Warrens HQ, he’s Officer of the Guard, mentions Clarinda is living with Julia]

 

“Dear Wife

Through a great mistake made By me I again write to you Hopeing [sic] That you will soon correct it  I was on guard [sic] and officer of the guard at Gen Warrens Head Quarters and while There I Received a Letter from Eliza at St Johnsville stateing [sic] that she wanted me to write to her  She sent the paper and Envelope and Postage and so I took out my Lead Pencil and answerd [sic] her Letter and at the time I got it finished I was Called away on some other Buisness [sic] and Being in a hurry I left it for some one Else to Direct and told them to Direct it to you at the time not thinking of the mistake Untill [sic] it was to [sic] late  I don’t know what you will think about it but I write so little to other folks it Comes [p.2] Second Nature to me to Direct it to you   When you Receive This I hope you will remail hers and sent it on to her  don’t tell her of the mistake and Perhaps she will never know of it  My cold is getting a great deal Better and I hope these few lines will find you all well at home  I thought I would send you a homemade or rather an armey [sic] made valentine and see how you would like it  it look just like the house I live in in now  I received a letter from you to day let Julia stay there as long as you Please   I dont [sic] think Kate and hank had a right to feel mad at you they might get a liveing [sic] I should think as well as other folks  take good Care of you health my Clara so good By Untill [sic] you hear from me again Pete L D”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction Va., Feb 20th 1864

 

Glad she is well, he is too but the boys all have bad colds.  It’s the coldest weather he’s seen Virginia and he almost froze to death in his bed.  She wanted to know what he does on a regular Sunday and he describes today’s routine of getting up with the drums, roll call, build a fire, make breakfast of “dried apples sauce fried pork coffee & Bread”, wash hands and face, comb hair, “wrote a letter for Charlie”, and expects to go on picket in the afternoon.  He got a letter from Charlie and it was a curiosity because it has drawings.  She asks what he heard about Sarah and it was something before she was married, something about her & George Keiser but he doesn’t pay attention or think anything of it. 

 

They still haven’t seen the paymaster.  “There is a great deal of talk here about the 146 reinlisting [sic] they talk about 11 hundred dollars & thirty days furlough.”  Many in other regiments have reinlisted:  “that thirty day furlough has a strong effect upon most of the army around such is their desire to see home once more that they Sacrifice most all their life time her for the Purpose of Spending a few days with those they love at home.”  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Warrington Junction Va., Thursday Feb 25th 1864

 

“Page 1st”

Got her letter and one from father and was glad to hear all were well at home as he is.  He is gaining in flesh some and will send her a likeness with the whole uniform.  Got paid off and he is sending $20 now and more next time.  At the end of the month they will be mustered in again for another 2 months pay.  “I got a letter from father & it looks quite nice and Natural.  In his letters home and to Joey he mentioned that if Joey could do something to help “wile away some of those tedious and Lonesome hours” he would be ever grateful so that may be why she made the change Clara spoke of.  His heart bleeds when he reads her letters and there is nothing he can do.  When he is tempted to go astray he thinks of her and the children.  He has been feeling so homesick he can’t eat or sleep or feel contented.  “I suppose that will be a grand affair that weding [sic] I wish I was at home to witness it”.  They are only giving out furloughs to people who have friend home who are sick and not expected to live. 

 

He didn’t get the paper she sent but Fletch was showing one around and he missed it because he was out on picket.  “Geo Whittens Brother came here to day.  You did not tell me what you thought of that Piece in the paper  I want to know so to see whether it is Best to write another one some time. I am glad to hear that Ida is so much of a Scholar Bless her little heart how I do want to see her.”  Talks of wanting to come home, he thinks a great deal of his country “But how much more I Prize my home & those I love there asembled [sic]  I have seen all the glory I want to in fighting I have Risen a step to houner [sic] in the army & now le me live & die in Peace whith thos I love & when I Speak in this way I think I am utering [sic] the sentiments of nearly all that are here.”  Closing.

“P.S.  I am going to send you the Likenesses of all the Generals that have had Command of the Army of the Potomac since I have been in it.  Write as soon as you get this for I will feel anxious.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at warrington Va., Feb 26th 1864

 

“I send these to you Because they are a great heft to carry around & I now have all besides my own & that I do not care for  these have been with me many weary miles over virginia also with me in Captivity in Rebeldom  it is a great heft to carry when we have a load without it.”  He would keep them if he thought they’d be staying where they are but that is uncertain.  “the man who Brings it is george Whittens Brother he has been on a visit here”.  Closing.  “P.S. there is no one that I show my Picture to that will believe it is me so it is of no more use  Write Soon”

  

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Va., Sunday Feb 28th 1864

 

They have orders to move at any time but not sure where.  They are getting hard tack and 3 days rations.  Some say some of their troops are going to Mine Run again.  Just had his picture taken again “It is not a very good one for it was Spoilt in the Colering [sic] but it is a good likeness of me  tell me if you think I have altered any.”  Everyone who sees the old picture of him thinks it is a relative and looks nothing like him, “it don’t look no more like me than Abe Lincoln”. He would send money but doesn’t want to do so close to pay day because of missing money, he thinks they get opened at the post office.  Closing.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction Va., Saturday March 4th 1864

 

They are still in same camp and others have gone back to their camps and all is quiet.  They will be going on railroad duty today.  He has been looking for her letter for a couple days and always worries she’s sick.

 

“Dear Clara I must tell you of a little scrape I got into for you see I can not keep anything from you.  I was Sergeant of the guard the other day & a Prisoner was brought to the guard house & Put under my Charge.  & at night an Order through the drum major (he gave it to me him Self) I Released him By that Order & the next morning after I was Relived [sic] from guard I was Placed under arrest & had to stay in my tent a whole day.  But yesterday morning the Col sent for me to Come up to his tent & after giveing [sic] me a fatherly kind of a Reprimand.  He told me I was Released from arrest.  But for the very same offence last winter one Sergt was Reduced.  You see I thought the Order came from the Col But it did not & even if it did I had no Buisness [sic] t let him go unless I got it from his own lips.  But it is all Right again.  I was afraid it might go Pretty hard with me But I guess I have got a good Reputation here & this is what cleared me.  They do Reduce Sergts here in this Regt for almost night.  So I think I have got off Pretty easy this time.  It is the first time since I have been in the Regt that they have found anything against me & that went a good ways in my favor.  The Col told me he Reduced a Sergt for the same offence last winter.”

 

He hopes she got the money, wants to send her more pictures, feels foolish buying them but wants to send her something.  Doesn’t want to send her more money until he’s sure she got what he sent.  If he thought she was “pinching” herself or the little ones he would send every cent he had. Has to go because is going on picket or Rail Road guard duty for 2 days.  Closing.  “Much joy to Mr. & Mrs. gulich”.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction, Va., Tuesday, March 5, 1863 [sic – probably1864]

 

(March 5th does not fall on Tuesday in either 1863 or 1864 – possible alternative date is March 15, 1864 which does fall on Tuesday)

 

[Summary transcription not available]

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction Va., March the 8th 1864

 

Just got back from Rail Road guard and was glad to get her letter and hear that she is well as he is.  He is getting fatter every day. 

 

oh Clara I felt as if I could desert my Regiment and come home when I read your letter although you don’t say anything about it very plain  I can see by the way you write you have not been treated as one of the family or with Proper Respect.  Have you become a slave to them that are no Better than yourself  The idea of your staying at home & taking Care of kates & hanks children while they attend weddings [sic] & places of gaiety.  Oh it almost makes me crazy & mad I don’t know how or why it is  But Hank has always been treated by our folks better than any of the family & his life has been one of the Blackest & most notorious that has ever been in Utica.  Almost everyone knows it yet see with what Respect my father has treated me & you to what he has treated them.  I almost believe if I had of married one of the worst whores in Utica she would be treated with More Respect than what you have been  But Dear Clara I am satisfied with you & am happy  in the love which I think you bare [sic] for me.”  Talks about how much he loves her and he wanted to cry when he read her letter but he couldn’t because of hate and madness.  Wants to get home to comfort and protect her from this cruel world.  Wants to come home to cheer and comfort her.  God will protect her, he is praying for her.  He tries not to cry because he is a soldier.  He probably shouldn’t have written to her but he was so upset.  Still needs to know if she got the 20 dollars he sent.  Closing.

 

“P.S. when you write to me of any of your troubles or trials & afflictions Don’t Say anything in your letters to me to encourage desertion for I have felt sometimes as if it would not take but a little to make me Desert & in case I was caught the Punishment would be to Horible [sic] for me to endure.  P.D.”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction, Friday March 11th 1864

 

Got her letter and glad to hear all are well except Ida and he hopes she is better.  She asked if he and Fletch are mad at each other.   “I hope not although you may think it Strange because we don’t tent with one other the Reason is this I suppose he is yet very young & likes livelier Company than what I care about.”  They ended up separated and never really thought about it, there have never been any hard feelings between them.  “My arms you make fun of is a little larger than what they was when I left home & my Sober looks you can imagine what causes that.”  Poor little Willie doesn’t even know him but he hopes some day he will have reason to call him something other than a loafer.  If Lotty wants a letter she should write one and he’ll answer it.   Poor Ida likes candy and he’ll send her 2 dollars in this letter. Charles Duel has enlisted and left behind a woman who would do most anything for him.  He did color the picture but how did Mally know it?  The fellow spoilt it by putting on varnish.

 

“I don’t care what Bill Jones says about our Regt although we do go by the name of tigers  I believe Gen Garrad give us that name & was Proud of it but he did not give it to us Because he thought were persons appropriate of it  after we drawed the Uniform we wanted a name Befitting us so he called us his Garrard Tigers & we feel Proud of the name  there is more real men in this Regt than any Other that ever left Oneida County & to tell the truth I think it would be a Poor Comparison to Call such men as Bill Jones their equal.” She should kick him out when he talks like that.  If he makes fun of the Regt he makes fun of Peter.  Don’t blame the men for not sending money home because some of them owed it all to the government for clothing.  George Blakman [?]  may be one.  Peter only owed 5 dollars while some owed 60 or 70.  Thinks there have been big mistakes.  “Take good care of yourself & little ones  Take Good of Sarah or your bean or perhaps you may loose [sic] her one of these days.”  Closing.  Signed ending with Garrard Tigers.

 

 Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction, March the 16th 1864

 

The weather has been cold but usually it is so warm it makes a fellow feel a little lazy.  He has read in the papers that by an Act of Congress Seamen can be transferred into the navy.  About 1500 will be taken from the army and he wants to serve out the rest of his time there. “Consider the heavy marches & the loads we have to carry day after day & the Broad Canopy of heaven to Shelter us at night with mother earth for our Bed and Pillow.”  It seems like the navy would be preferable.  Plus he could end his service 2 months earlier and make more money.  Someone in the regt was in the navy for a year and has two thousand dollars prize money coming.  But Peter won’t do it without her permission. 

 

He is sending more pictures.  He thinks he saw Jackson when he was first taken prisoner and he was buried while he was in Richmond. He’s probably foolish for sending them but he wants to send her something.  He hasn’t been able to make too many pictures this winter because they are too busy.  James Handwright is very sick and Fletch is acting as orderly.  “Both our Company Commanders are on furlough Curren of Utica has ben made Lieut Col & Armstrong has resigned & gone home.”  Closing.

Sketch of man in uniform with note:  “Captain Durkee of our Company wounded at Chancelorsville  One arm gone”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Va., Monday March 21st /64

 

Has been busy and lots of excitement “we have been Expecting Stewarts Cavelry [sic] to make a Raid here and have Been Preparing to meet him Diging [sic] Rifle Pits & entrenchments & have had everything Removed so if he was to Strong for us we meant to Skedadle & Burn everything around us  But I think the Excitement has nearly died away for things are going on as usual again.” 

 

He was afraid he would miss the opportunity to apply for the navy so he went ahead and did it without her consent.  If she knew how he suffered with the long marches and heavy loads she would understand.  He sent his application to army Head quarters and is waiting for a reply.  But since he’s an officer he doesn’t know if they’ll let him go. 

 

He is glad she did better this winter than he expected.  “If Mr. Hart keeps up his Promise in the course of a year that little will amount to a great deal in time.”  Talks about wanting to go home.  Loty says he should answer her letter but he didn’t get one.  He got one from father and she had written a few lines on it  “But then if she thought anything of me I don’t think she would wait for me to write for She has more time and a Better Place to write in.  But I suppose her time is otherwise Occupied at Present.”  There is heavy booming of cannon out in front just starting.  He doesn’t know what it is.  Closing. 

 

“A kiss to you and the little ones.  I will send you a piece of Poetry written for the soldiers it is very true.” Enclosed copy of “Soldiers Letters” poem, Daily Chronicle, Thursday March 17 1864. Reverse includes theater schedule for “New Fords Theater, Tenth Street above Pennsylvania Ave.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Va., Friday March 25 1864

 

Is afraid Ida will get very sick before she gets better, he just has a feeling.  He doesn’t know when his navy papers will come, he expects them every day.  He feels bad the sleigh and wagon have been used so bad but he doesn’t blame her if George has it “you might as well make him a Present of it first as last for he will never ofer [sic] it back to you again Untill it is good for nothing.  You see I know him of Old. But I am not telling you of it to find fault for I can easily imagine how you feel whenever they ask you for any such things.”

 

Glad to hear that Tom is home and will be happy, he knows he would be.  Tom may tell quite some stories but if he tells the truth he can’t say anything to hurt him.  Wants to know if Ida recognized Tom.  “I heard about Dimblebys loosing their child some time before I got your letter.  I suppose they must feel pretty bad about it.  Wantsto know if she got the money and pictures of the Generals.

 

The sick were moved away and he thinks they are under marching order but the weather will not allow it.  “They say Gen Grant is down here to Put the Armey [sic] of the Potomac in motion & will Review it in a few days.”  Closing.

“From your affectionate Husband

Sergt P.L. Dumont

Co A 146

N.Y. Vols.

Garrard Tigers

A kiss

This lace for Ida and my love to all”

 

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrington Junction, April 1st 1864

 

Navy papers he was expecting have not come and sometimes he thinks the Colonel never forwarded them.  Discusses how anxious he is to get in. The Colonel is back with the Regiment and having target practice and Battalion drill.  Describes changes in the Army of the Potomac and their Division is now one Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Ayres.  Sykes has command of the Corps and the men don’t like him leaving because he “had become endeared to them as a father”.  They are now in the third brigade of the first Division and the Fifth Corps under Major General Warren and he is not well liked.  Went down to the railroad and had his picture taken to send back.  “You can see by this that we have to go almost bare headed” because the Colonel makes them “ware these Scull Caps on the Crown of the head affording scarcely any protection to our head”. Getting hard tack again.  “Everything seems to be preparing for a terrible conflict as soon as weather will permit”, soldiers passing toward the front daily on cars.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction Va., [April 14th 1864]

[Undated Thursday the 14th, 1864- probably April 14, 1864- weather is warm, Spring campaign has commenced, not transferred to Navy yet, Clarinda is living downtown and has gotten out of paddy hole]

 

Got her letter which he was waiting for a long time for.  Did not like the idea she was living downtown when he first heard it but if Lotty stays with her he won’t care so much about it.  Glad she got out of “that Paddy hole” but afraid she won’t get along as well down there with strangers as she would “where you was Aquainted [sic]”.  Drills every day and target practice every other day.  Weather is warm and pleasant.  Sutters are leaving so he thinks the Spring campaign has commenced.  Hopes they will stay there to guard the railroad.  Hasn’t been transferred to the Navy but neither has anyone else.  There seems to be some fault with Commanding Officers in complying with the order showing a reluctance to part with any of their command but he doesn’t see how they can disobey an act of Congress. 

 

He has only gotten one letter from George since he’s been there and he answered it immediately.  He would write more to others but the cost of postage is high.  He hopes she doesn’t think he’s reserved too much money for himself over the winter.  They have had things to buy since they came to this camp at the Junction:  “eggs cabbage onions butter & flour and we have had to Pay dreadful High Prices for them…”  He never bought any of them because he felt like he would be taking it out of her and the children’s mouths.  Sutters will not be allowed in the army again until winter.  Asks her to write with the number of the house she lives in and where it is.  “We have climbed to the to [sic] top of the hill & are now on our downward course but I am afraid the downhill will be the worst.”  Hopes the fighting will end this summer so they can come home before the three years is up.  Lengthy closing.  “P.S. tell Loty to write.  I am afraid you have lost your old Bean Sarah Graff ____ a kiss”

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction, April 19th 1864

 

Got his warrant and will send it home so it won’t wear out in his pocket.  All the boys in the regiment were examined for the Navy but not him because his papers hadn’t come so he will go again tomorrow but “they examine the applications pretty strict but I am going to try for it hard”.  Report is they will move Friday, they have getting ready for a week.  He was playing ball and hurt his little finger so badly the doctor excused him from duty.  Back page is to his father saying he thought it would be safer to send it to him to give to Clara.

 

Peter L. Dumont to Clarinda [Dumont], Camp at Warrenton Junction, Friday April 29th 1864

 

[LAST LETTER]

 

Is well, has been on picket all day and it’s now 9 PM.  Ordered to move at 8 AM.  They say the mail has been stopped.  “Burnside is marching on to the front with about 40 thousand men & amongst them is they say about 10 thousand negro troops”.  Those troops are left along the road to guard the other troops.  Relieving the 5th Corp.  Encamped all around them.  “I have not seen any of the Black Sogers [sic] yet so I cannot give you a discription [sic] of them”.  Burnside Corps looks hard and warn out, begging for hard tack.  Have marched from Annapolis MD without much to eat.  The men who were examined for the Navy were supposed to leave the regiment this morning but for some unknown reason they did not go.  “I was in hopes that I might go but I am afraid I cant for it seems my papers did not come”.

 

“Dear Clara I am afraid before you hear from me again there will be a hard battle fought with the   [sic- missing Army] of the Potomac but wherever I may be placed I shall try to do my duty as well as I can.  I hope the lord will spare us to meet again on earth.  Take good care of yourself & our little ones give my love to all of my Folks & may heaven protect us all evermore, God be ever with us, From your Affectionate husband, With love, Sergt P.L. Dumont.”

 

 

 

[1865]

 

[1858][1862][1863][1864][1865] [1880]

 

 

George C. Carter to Clarinda [Dumont], Utica N.Y., June 19/ 65

 

“Mrs. Dumont:

Madam:

The case of yours is now settled- Your husband now has been officially reported as deceased and I have the necessary information to enable you at once to complete your claims – The above alluded to intelligence has just arrived & I hasten to acquaint you of the fact –

Very Respectfully

George C. Carter –

[line with flourish]”

 

George C. Carter to Clarinda Dumont, Utica N.Y., June 20 1865

 

“Mrs. Dumont

Madam

I wrote to you last evening to inform you of the reliable news I had just Recd [sic] from the Army in regard to the fate of your husband-  I directed that letter I think No. 2 Cooper Street, if so, you may not get it, therefore I write this morning again.

If you will call at my office now I will talk with you about your matter -  I have the statistics sufficient now for you to proceed to your claims on the Govt

Your husband’s decease has been established – Though sad is [p.2] the intelligence – You have no further hope of his being living -

Very Respectfully

George C. Carter –

[line with flourish]”

 

Office of Correspondence with the friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army

Washington, D.C., July 3rd, 1865

[form letter with blanks filled in by hand]

 

Dear Sir:

I am in receipt of a communication from Chas. [Y? G?] Jones No 15 Wall St New York City in which he informs me that he is positive Sergt. Peter L Dumont Co “A” 146 N.Y.V. was killed at the battle of the Wilderness on the 5th of May 1864.

 

For further particulars address informant as above.

I am, very truly,

Yours,

Clara Barton.

Per R.G.P.

 

 

[1880]

[1858] [1862] [1863] [1864] [1865] [1880]

 

 

[Undated and No Location, probably right before September 21, 1880, see related letter]

 

“Dear Brother and Sis

We haven’t heard from you since mother came home  mother has bee Very Sick Since She has been home with malarial fever and aint been out of bed for over a week  aunt Rosa came up and Staid over Sunday and Grandma is here this week  She was very [Low?] all night She was out of her head and Grandma sits up all night  She is a great deal better than She was yeasterday [sic]  She wanted to know if you had wrote yet and She worrys [sic] and thinks you are sick now be sure and answer this write away

 

Will

P.S. how is matie I think her picture is Splendid

[word “kiss” circled]”

 

[William Dumont] to sister, Utica, September 21/80

 

“Dear Sister

I received your letter this noon  mother is getting along slow now but she is a great deal better  Last Friday she was so [low?] that the Folks was afraid  both Sarah Graft and Grandma sat by the bed all night and the house was full of Folks  I was going to send for you but Grandma said to wait till morning and see how she was and when the morning came she was a great deal better and the Docter [sic] says the worst part is past although she may have more fever they [sic] only trouble we had was in getting folks to stay there  Grandma was taken [p.2] Sick with the Colera Saturday night and we had to send for Sarah Graft  Aunt Malley has sat up a few nights  Mrs. Graham sat up 1 night  Just as I am writing this aunt Rosa has come up so I guess we will get along all right  there is a great any people here who has the malerial fever and very dangerous  Mrs Gotting in west Utica died day before yeasterday [sic] with it and hanna Elijha Cummins wife has got it and is Staying at Mrs [Mellars?} now don’t worry for the Doctor says Mother is getting along Splendid  I will write again in a Day or So  now you write for a Letter Seems to cure her

this is all

Yours Ever

Will

[decorative lines]”