ÒWe can approach one other so close without danger and soon we shall be trying to take one otherÕs livesÓ
Camp near Potomac Creek VA
Sunday, April 26, 1863
I am well at present and I hope these few lines will find you all enjoying the same good health. I have just returned from a tramp to Falmouth and Fredericksburg. I went to see how it looks since the Battle. Everything looks in ruins and is almost desolate except the Rebel soldiers that occupy the town, and they were so close to the river that I could of corresponded with them very easily if it had of been allowed. It seems so strange to me that we can approach one another so close without danger and soon we shall be trying to take one otherÕs lives and engaged perhaps in a terrible battle. But such [it] is in times of war.
The banks of the River were quite thick of Rebels today, it being a very find day, and they were engaged in catching fish with net and hook. You could hear them talk and laugh quite distinctly. They would come down to the river with the fish pole on one shoulder and their gun on the other and sit down and go to fishing without the least fear of being molested whatever, and that is the way they do picket on the Rebel side of the Rappahannock. A great many of them wear our uniforms which are taken in battle, but their uniforms are gray and our boys call them graybacks and yellowbellies. God forgive our many sins if we have to attack them at this place again, for it is a great deal stronger now than it was then and it will cost more lives than it did before. They have fortified it to an enormous extent.
I have not heard from you since I sent that check of 40 dollars to you. I would like to hear if you have got it or not and I have sent you two dollars in money since. Most all of the boys have heard of theirs getting some some time ago.
Dear Clara, I canÕt tell how long it will be before we have to move from here but I expect it every day. I think some of the army is going somewhere today. They have told us so many times lately to get ready to go and we have been fooled that we canÕt tell when we are going now till we start, although we look something like getting ready. Today we are ordered to have 8 days rations again on hand in our knapsacks. I tell you, it makes a load for a mule to carry. There is 80 or 90 hardtacks, about 5 pounds of bacon, a pound of sugar, ½ pound coffee, 1 rubber blanket, 1 woolen one, our tent and clothing, canteen, cartridges and gun, and all together makes a pretty heavy load to march with.
Dearest Clara, I am in hopes you wonÕt have to leave our folks and go amongst strangers to live, but if you must I suppose you must and I canÕt help it. God alone knows how often I think of you and my little ones and how often I have wished myself by your dear side again. But wishing donÕt bring me there and nothing but the close of this cruel war will ever see me sitting by the side of my best and only loved [one] again. God in his tender mercies watch over you my dear one and my little ones, and may we soon be reunited.
From your true and loving husband until death,
Sergt. Peter. L. Dumont
Co A 146 N.Y.S.V.
A kiss [encircled] the best one that I can give you now