ŇAs I walk the sentinelŐs midnight beat, I think thou art always nighÓ
Camp on Potomac Creek
Sunday, January 17, 1863
I received your letter last night together with one from Julia and was so glad to hear from you and home. I got the money she and you sent and I got that you sent me before for New Years' present. I took it and bought tobacco with it. Tom has gone to the hospital but which one I can't tell, so I don't know what to do with that money she sent me. If I send it in a letter to him I am afraid it will go all over the country before he gets it. I wish she would write and let me know what she thinks about it. When Tom went away he was a great deal better than he had been in some time. I think the crisis is past and he will recover again but I tell you at one time he was dangerous enough. He had the Black tongue and I think they call that pretty bad but all traces of it are now gone.
We expected to leave this camp this morning but as yet we are here. The order is now that we will go in the morning in light marching orders. I canŐt tell when we are a going and canŐt find out. The opinion is we are going in another fight. We have got extra rounds of cartridges and are going to leave our tents where they are. The 5th New York Zouaves is going to occupy our hospital for 7 days for their sick and if we were going back to Washington I think they would go with us. I hope if we have to go in another fight that we come out as harmless as we did before.
I am very sorry to hear you are left all alone but I hope Lotty is there with you. Dear Clara, may God comfort you in your loneliness and protect you from evil. I would gladly come back if I only could but I am in a tight place just now. But look and hope for the best and I pray that all may yet be right. I donŐt know whether I can mail this letter today or not and if I can I will. Take good care of yourself and the children for my sake and I will try to do the same for yourn. God bless and protect you my only loved one until I see you again.
From yours in love and truth,
Peter L. Dumont
Kiss my little lambs for me as often as you can.
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 goodbye (original)
I await an early answer
P.S. The statement of Capt. 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 fastened 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.