“I had Command of 15 of the Duryea Zouaves on my post and they are a good set of fellows as ever I saw”
Camp near Potomac Creek VA
Saturday, April 4, 1863
[includes separate sketch of ‘Duryea Zouaves on picket’ in front of ‘young contrabands and sesesh house’]
I am well and hope these few lines will find you enjoying the same good health. I have just come in from Picket and have been out 4 days and half of that time we did not have anything to eat. I was sent back to Camp with nine men to get rations for the men on picket and just as I got the men all ready to start back on the Picket line again the Col sent for the Sergeant and I had to go to his tent and such a mad man I hardly ever saw. He told me to leave Camp immediately and not take any rations with me. So you see we had to unload our haversacks again, and he told the Officer of the day to search us to see that we took nothing back. This is about the worst thing I have seen the old fellow do, but you see he couldn’t blame me for I had a pass given me by one of our Captains and signed by the Commander of the left wing of the picket line.
We had nice weather while we was gone but last night it was pretty cold and we did not feel afraid of being attacked by the Rebs. This time I had Command of 15 of the Duryea Zouaves on my post and they are a good set of fellows as ever I saw.
I suppose you will think it is a good while since you heard from me last. But I went out so sudden and not knowing of it before, it will make it a long time between the last one and this. I was thinking of writing to you the same day I left but the Order was so sudden that I had not time. I expected to hear from you when I came in but it has not come yet, but I hope to get it tonight.
The pontoons have all gone down to the River and the next thing that goes, I suppose, will be the men. But I hear that our Corps is not a going. They are to hold this place against an attack from the Rebels. Somebody has got to stay and it may be that we are the lucky ones. I hope so.
We have not been paid off as of yet but are expecting it every day. Tom is about the same yet. He don’t drill or do anything else. But George Wheeler has been put on duty again.
Dear Clara, take good care of yourself and my little ones and hoping that God in his mercy is watching over you and my l little ones, I will bid you goodbye until you hear from me again. Give my love to all.
from your Husband, truly yours,
Peter. L. Dumont
[spiral flourish with dots]
P.S. I will send you a small picture where I was on picket with the Duryea Zouaves