ŌThe men are all sick and tired out and see no use of fighting any moreĶ
Camp near Potomac Creek VA
Saturday, February 7, 1863
[letterhead of star with shield, red, white and blue]
I received you kind and welcome letter today with one from Malvina also and you donÕt know how glad I was to hear from you and home. I canÕt say in this letter my health is good as I have done of late because I am at present laboring under a very severe cold. But I hope these few lines will find you better than what Mally wrote about you. It makes me feel very bad when I hear anything ails any of you at home. But we canÕt always expect to be lucky and well.
Our Regt just returned from Picket about 12 oÕclock last night and oh, we have had a tough time of it I tell you. It commenced snowing when we started and turned into a heavy rainstorm and it never stopped until we returned back to Camp again. We was gone about a week and it would have been a sorry sight if you could of seen us as we was then sitting out in the cold open air, wet through and through to the skin, with no house or tent to go into and the storm came pouring down, ceasing only to commence raining still harder again. To say that we didnÕt suffer then would be telling a falsehood. But we have got back into camp again and I for one have got a hard cold by the means of it. I have got a hard cough and am so hoarse it is hard work to speak plain, besides losing the sight of Mr. Steele. I should of liked to seen him very much but he came here while we were on picket and so I havenÕt seen him.
I suppose you have heard of hoe cake to home such as they feed the niggers down South. I had an opportunity of trying some of it while on picket and it tasted pretty good. We have lived on Uncle SamÕs hard tack so long most anything is palatable to us now. If you want a real old Virginia hoe cake, take a pound of Indian meal, mix to a stiff dough with water and a little salt, then take a frying pan, sprinkle a little meal in the bottom of it, put your dough in it and bake it on the fire on both sides, and that is the way hoe cake is made. We had to pay two shillings a piece for them. At home they would be worth about 4 cents.
I am sorry to hear such bad news about Hank and Kate but I donÕt think you or I am to blame for it if he wont take care of himself. I hardly think his rich relations can well afford to do it for him. I have not heard from Tom or Lumbard since I saw them last Sunday.
Our Col is now acting as Brigadier Gen since Warren has been assigned the command of the Division. I have got to be an officer as you spoke about but I am now commissioned one and canÕt resign just yet. Keep up courage, Dearest Clara, and I hope all may yet be well. There is a great deal of camp talk here about another movement presently, where to or in what direction they canÕt tell. Such longings for peace as there is here you never heard. The men are all sick and tired out and see no use of fighting any more.
But as it is night and getting late I will have to close for I not slept much for most a week lately. I have sot up in the rain all night instead of sleeping and it is hard work to keep my eyes open to write this. When I hear from you again I hope to hear you and Mally are better, so take good care of yourself and my little lambs and hoping God in his mercy is watching over you I will bid you good night and retire to my soft bed on the hard ground and quickly fall to sleep.
From your fond and loving husband
Peter L. Dumont