ŇGen. Warren was so drunk he could hardly set on his horse and still kept drinkingÓ
Camp near Potomac Creek
Tuesday, January 27, 1863
Rainy wet day today
With the blessing of God I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you the same. I could not tell you all that I wanted to in that last letter so I write again today. I just done my washing for this week. All I had to wash was a pair of drawers, shirt, and a handkerchief. You ask if some of the men donŐt get lice on them. There is a great many of them in that sad state. It comes principally by not keeping themselves clean. I think I look about the same only not quite so fleshy as when you last saw me. Maybe I am not quite as white as you would like to see me but that I canŐt help. Fletch cut my hair yesterday and as it fell in my lap I saw a great many grey hairs amongst it. It is the first time I noticed them and perhaps would not now if you hadnŐt spoke of it in your letter.
I worry a great deal about every getting home again. You see our chances are small compared with sickness and the battlefield but then I am hoping for the best.. Perhaps I done wrong in enlisting when I did but it is too late to retrieve now. I am in the hand of a just and almighty God and perhaps he has sent me here for some work which one like me might do. I shall look with bright hopes to the future, let the dark side be what it may.
Dear Clara, my clothes at present are in pretty good order. I have got them gloves yet that I brought from home and I have drawed 2 pairs of socks from the government and a new pair of pants made by Kellog in Utica. My boots I sold as soon as we left Camp Seward. They hurt me to march in so I have had to draw 2 pairs of shoes since we left Rome. They are poor things, they donŐt last long. As for getting an office, I guess that will never be although yesterday I was told I was a going to be made a Corporal in the Company but that you see donŐt amount to much although it would relieve me from a little extra duty.
I hope my little ones are not calling in vain for I dearly hope to see you all again. I would wish you would write in your letter if you are entirely alone. Where is Lotty? And Malvina, ask why she donŐt write to me any more or has she forgotten her brother. I suppose now my folks are gone I wonŐt hear from them again in a good while. Oh, if only I could come home again how glad I would be. I would not leave it again until death took me from it. If a man dies down here he is left on one side like some dog and that is all that is thought of them. They bury them without any coffin and most of the time without any ceremony.
I saw something in this last move we made, something which sickened me of fighting any more. While we were marching toward the river to go on the battlefield, we did not know at what hour, Gen. Warren was so drunk he could hardly set on his horse and still kept drinking. With such a man to lead us in danger I thought it was awful, and I was told by old soldiers that all of our Generals got beastly drunk to get up their courage. If that is the way to get courage so help me God I hope to never have any. Liquor has been dealt out twice since we have been here but Dear Clara I have not drank it. I have given mine away.
It begins to look like another move by the activity displayed by the Officers for a day past and if we do go I canŐt tell where it will be but I think not at the same place. But wherever I may have to go I pray that we may soon be reunited and live many happy and peaceful days together. Take good care of my little lambs and yourself for my sake. God and his angels protect you from harm.
Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain, your hopeful and loving husband,
Peter L. Dumont