“They would come toddling through the snow, their little bare feet looking like coals of fire and asking for hard tacks”


Camp near Potomac Creek VA

Thursday, April 9, 1863


Dear Clarinda,


I am well at present and I hope with all my heart that this may find you the same and all the rest of them at home.  We still remain at our old Camp yet and the talk about moving has subsided a great deal, but the reason is, I think, because they have got tired of talking about it.  There will be a grand move I think before we hardly expect it.  We had that Grand Review by Abraham Lincoln last Tuesday.   They say there was 80 thousand troops present.  We were on the banks of the Rappahannock and the Rebels were on the other side of it drawn up in line of Battle.  I suppose they thought we were going to attack them.  They lay behind Fredericksburg thick as ever to judge by their camps.  They fired two guns to let us now that they were awake. 


Fredericksburg looks forsaken and dingy enough now from a distance.   What a thing this war is.  Fredericksburg, once a thriving and well established city and the oldest one they say in the United States, now lies almost desolate and in ruins, and such marks the tracks of the army all over Virginia.  Look where you will, nothing meets the eye but ruins and desolation.  Where houses stood, nothing remains but chimneys to tell there ever was any, and their occupants have gone mostly all in the Rebel army except the women and children, and they have gone here and there, no one knows where.  God help them if they had any influence in creating this monstrous rebellion, for now I think they suffer almost everything.  


I have seen when we were out on picket some of the little log houses and their inmates suffering almost everything.  Little children scarcely old enough to know what we were doing down here were in almost a state of nakedness and in want of something to allay their hunger.  Poor little things, how I did pity them when they would come toddling through the snow, their little bare feet looking like coals of fire and asking for hard tacks to stop their hunger.  Who could refuse that had any bit of human feelings left.  I for my part could of given mine willingly and gone without myself just to see them eat.  I hope, Dear Clara, never to hear or see you or my little ones suffering as I see them here.  But my telling you of it won’t help it a mite so I will stop.


Tomorrow we are to have a grand muster to see how strong the Army of the Potomac is.  We are expecting to be paid off every day but the pay master doesn’t seem to get along, yet we have had a sutler here for about 3 weeks and the most of the boys have spent their money before they even got in getting orders on the Captains.  If I felt like it I might make a good deal of money in making them pictures such as I sent home.  I have made a good many of them already.  Some offer me 50 cents apiece to make them and they will pay me on payday.  I have got some money coming in that way now.  I have to mark laurel root for almost the whole Regt to whittle on.  There is someone running to my tent all the time and I am getting tired of it.  It is all work and no pay.


And now wishing this may find you all as it leaves me, I will close hoping that God the giver of all good, is watching over you all, my loved ones at home.  Write soon and oblige your ever faithful husband,

Sergeant Peter L. Dumont

Co. A. 146 Regt



10 o’clock evening, all is quiet here tonight.

P.S. Lieut. Col White of the 117 was here this afternoon.  I haven’t learned whether the Regiment has come or not.  We expect them all the time.