New Convalesint Camp Near Fort Barnard

Sunday May 24th 1863


Dearest and Beloved wife and Children

To pass a few lonesome hours away I take my pen.Hoping by the Blessing of god that it may find you as it leaves me and that is I am well and I pray it will find all the Household the same.oh I am so homesick it seems as if I canít stand it much longer if I canít come home to see your dear faces again it would inspire me with a new life.What I have recently passed through seems more like a dream than anything else I can think of.Sometimes I get a thinking and it hardly seems as if I had been in Richmond, yet it is true and a prisoner of war and am now waiting to be Exchanged to take the Bloody field again.I think there will be harder fighting this summer than any we have had yet.I will try to give you a little sketch of our fair while in Libby Prison.We were Confined in the garret and the roof was covered with tin and in the Heat of the day it seemed as if we would perish.Think to yourself of a room large enough to accommodate 20 or 30 persons conviently [sic} and then Place 3 hundred and 50 into it the floor Crawling with vermin or lice.Water to drink that is to filthy for swine to drink.Our Privey in one side of the room smelling strong from the [rise?] of so many Persons.Without any door to close it up.The floor covered with tobaco quids and tobacco juice with no place to wash ourselves from all this filth and scarcely [p. 2] enough to keep us from starving.From what we had to eat our rations consisting of a quarter loaf of bread about the size of our 5 cents loaf at home and a piece of meat the size of an oyster and if we approached near a window within 2 feet of it you were fired upon by the Sentry below.And here god help me I have given you a true Description of life in Libby Prison.We may feel thankful that we escaped so soon from that Horrible Place.We are now in a Delightful Place in a neat Cedar Grove and living in Barracks as comfortable as a house.Everything is cooked for us the same as at [Rome? Home?]only everything is neat & clean and has to be kept so all the time.Church is held here 3 times a day.And everything is quiet.There is some 200 government buildings here besides others.[Sutters?] picture galleries. Barber shops and the railroad running through the camp makes it quite a Business place.After supper I go out and sit down in the shade and the thoughts of home and the Dear ones there casts a gloom over everything.If I could only hear from you once I think I should feel better.I go to the Post Office when I know there is no use in it but I cant help it I must do something.We are not allowed outside of the guards and they only extend around the camp and that makes it sum [sic] more confining for we have been used to [ramble?] for some distance away from camp and nothing to stop us.Dear Clara if god permits me to return to you again I will never say anything against going out walking with you.I used to think I was tired when you would ask me sometimes to go walking.But I have marched here as I never expected to march in my life.23 miles from noon till night was not bad under a Burning Sun.But that was as far as human nature would go & next morning I was so sore from chafeing [sic].I could hardly move but it was only 2 miles to Richmond & I went it and rested in Libby Prison.It was Rebel Cavelry [sic] that marched us mounted & they had orders to cut down any man that strageled [sic] or fell behind.But it is done and I have come out all right.Dear Clara you will please answer this as soon as you get and oblige your Ever loveing [sic] husband.Kiss my Dear little Children often for me & take good care of your health.Give my love to all I rember [sic] every one.From your Ever faithful and loveing [sic] husband,

Sergt. Peter Dumont