“The men have orders to sleep in their arms with their cartridge boxes on, but my tent mates are snoring soundly while I am writing this letter.”


Camp at Warrington Junction VA

Thursday, January 28, 1864


Dear Clara,


I received your letter this afternoon and was glad and sorry both.  I did not think you would feel so bad about that as what you did.  But I can’t blame you, for I suppose you have seen enough of the effects of liquor in your life.  But I repented of it, I thought, by telling you of it. 


Oh Clara, I have sworn never to become a drunkard and I mean to keep my promise.  I have had temptation upon temptation before me, yet 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.  You see, me being in the position I now am, I am often brought into their company and they always urge me to drink.  But I always refuse and they hardly know what to make of it.  You tell me to look at them little faces and 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 and right.  It has been my chief object to try and be good and do as you would have me.  But it was almost as much of an accident, my being so, as anything else.   For you see I took it to try and keep from freezing as [much as] anything else.  Perhaps I was not so bad as you imagine, for I did not get so far gone.  But I could easily of wrote you a letter on that same night if it were necessary.  But I felt sorry for drinking any at all and I thought my telling you of it would be repenting of it.  But you shall never hear of a repetition of the kind again.


My health at present is good and I hope this may find you the same.  It is now about half past ten o’clock at night and I am on guard, but I have left a Corporal in charge while I have come to my shanty to write you this letter so as to have it leave here in the morning.


About 4 o’clock this afternoon, intimation that the guerillas would attack us tonight.  The Regt. was all turned out immediately and commenced to erect obstructions around the Camp, and now we are waiting to give them a warm reception in case they come.  The men have orders to sleep in their arms with their cartridge boxes on, but my tent mates are snoring soundly while I am writing this letter.  Perhaps they are dreaming of home instead of being attacked by guerillas.  The moon is shining bright and it will be hard work for them to surprise us tonight.  But I do not have much fears of their coming.


Henry Brownell of Sauquoit is here on a visit. He was very glad to see me and I to see him.  He is going home tomorrow night and 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 attack them.  I have scoured it up and put a wooden cylinder 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 and was small and light to carry.


What you say about Lotty, I can hardly credit it, yet it may be true.  If she likes him and 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 something else, but I guess I won’t, about the other one.


You know, oh Clara, I have been satisfied with you.  You are all to me in this world and I hope in another to come.  You seem to me all that I could wish of a companion through life, and why are we separated?  Oh, that we may live many happy years together yet.  How I long to be at home with you and my little ones.  But the grim monster of war must appease his appetite before we meet again, I fear. 


I also received a letter from Sister Joey, together with a likeness of mother.  How natural she does look.  I feel proud of it.  I cannot answer her letter tonight but will do so at the earliest practicable moment. 


As it is getting late and I must get to the Guard House, I will close.  Take good care of yourself and little ones.  Give my love to all of my folks and all inquiring friends.  May the blessing of a kind Providence rest on you all.  Good night, dear Clara, pleasant dreams.


From your husband with love which none other could give,

Sergt. P.L. Dumont


A kiss to you and little ones.

After eleven o’clock and all is well, good night.