ŇDonŐt say anything in your letters to me to encourage desertion, for I have felt sometimes as if it would not take but a little to make me desertÓ
Camp at Warrington Junction VA
[Tuesday,] March 8, 1864
I have just returned from off of railroad guard and I have received your letter and was glad to hear that you was all well. My health is good and I am getting fatter every day.
Oh Clara, I felt as if I could desert my Regiment and come home when I read your letter, although you donŐt say anything about it very plain. I can see by the way you write, you have not been treated as one of the family or with proper respect. Have you become a slave to them that are not better than yourself? The idea of your staying home and taking care of KateŐs and HankŐs children while they attend weddings and places of gaiety, oh it almost makes me crazy and mad. I donŐt know how or why it is, but Hank has always been treated by our folks better than any of the family, and his life has been one of the blackest and most notorious that has ever been in Utica. Almost everyone knows it, yet see with what respect my father has treated me and you to what he has treated them. I almost believe if I had of married one of the worst whores in Utica, she would have been treated with more respect than what you have been. But, dear Clara, I am satisfied with you and am happy in the love which I think you bear for me, and oh how fondly I love you in return, I hope to prove to you if God permits me to return to you again.
I could of cried when I read you letter, but hate and madness kept me from it. Oh, that I could get home once again to comfort and protect you from this cruel world, if you have ever suffered or endured anything for my sake. Oh that my days may be lengthened too, hereafter to live only for you and your sake and our little ones. I hope to live to return to you and our little ones that I may prove how much I love you, and oh let this cheer and comfort you in your hours of sadness, and be a star to guide and console you in those long and weary days and nights of yours during my absence, and God alone will award you in the end.
I pray for you and our little ones often, and many times when my mind wanders to you and all that I have left behind me, tears will start in my eyes, but these quickly dry, for they are not things which belong to a soldier.
I have not much news to write and perhaps I should not of written today if it had not of been that my mind was too full, and now that I have relieved it some perhaps it will feel better. It is raining today, pretty hard, but I am in my tent and can keep dry, but there seems to be some that have to be out.
I would like to have a letter and see if you got that 20 dollars I sent you or not. Give my respects to all enquiring friends. Take good care of yourself and little ones. May a kind Providence guide and protect you ever through life.
From your loving husband until death,
Sergt. P. L. Dumont
P.S When you write to me of any of your troubles or trials and afflictions, donŐt say anything in your letters to me to encourage desertion, for I have felt sometimes as if it would not take but a little to make me desert, and in case I was caught the punishment would be too horrible for me to endure.