Location: Camp near Potomac Creek, VA
[letterhead of star with shield, red, white and blue]
Saturday, Febuary (sic) 7th 1863
I received you kind and welcome letter today with one from Malvina also and you donít know how glad I was to hear from you and home. I cant say in this letter my health is good as I have done of late because I am at present labouring 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 canít always expect to be Luckey [sic] and well. Our Regt just returned from Picket about 12 oíclock last night and oh we have had a tough time of it I tell you. It commenced snowing when we started [p. 2] and turned into a heavy Rain Storm and it never stoped [sic] untill [sic] 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 dident [sic] 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 loosing [sic] 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 havent [sic] seen him. I suppose you [p. 3] 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 Samís hard tack so long most anything most anything [sic] is palateable to us now if you want a real old Virginia hoe cake take a pound of Indian meal mix to a stiff doe [sic] with water and a little salt then take a frying pan sprinkle a little meal in the bottom of it put your doe 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 donít think you or I am to blame for it if he wont take care of himself I hardley [sic] think his rich relations can well [p. 4] 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 comishiond [sic] one and cant 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 cant tell such longings for pease [sic] 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 [written across the text of p. 4, opposite direction] 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 Loveing Husband Peter L. Dumont