ŌThe shell took effect about 2 inches above the eyebrows, taking off the upper part of his head completelyĶ
Camp Convalescent Alexandria VA
[Thursday,] June 18, 1863
I received your very welcome letter this morning and was glad to hear from you. I am well but am sorry that you will be disappointed by not hearing from me sooner than this. Last Tuesday I went over to visit the boys at the Fort and on Sunday, the day I generally write, I was at church all day. I hope you will forgive me for this time and I will try to do better hereafter. Our Regt. has been paid off and we have got our pay here. I got 34 dollars and it is all in greenbacks and I donÕt feel hardly safe in sending it just yet while so much money is going over the road. If I donÕt come home I will send it all to you before we leave here.
Yesterday there was quite a number of our boys come here from Alexandria sick. They left the Hospital at Acquia Creek last Sunday. I suppose the most of HookerÕs army is now near Washington. The greatest excitement prevails here and all kinds of rumors are afloat. Stragglers from the front keep coming in all day and each one has a different story to tell. Another Bull Run seems to be the thoughts of every one.
And now I will tell you all that I know about Menzo Gibbs. At the time he was killed we were in the woods seeking shelter from the enemyÕs shells and waiting to get the order to form in lie of battle. He was in a stooping position with his back towards the enemy and Dimbleby was close to him. Dimbleby fell down behind him when he heard the fire or else the same shell would of killed them both. The shell took effect about 2 inches above the eyebrows, taking off the upper part of his head completely. He fell over backwards on Dimbleby and never moved a muscle. We were immediately ordered in line of battle and as I passed the spot where he lay I took a last look at him. His features were composed and I thought I discerned a smile on his face. Whatever became of his remains after is more than I can tell. I saw many that had met with a similar fate on that bloody field. He marched towards the enemy bravely and had met a soldierÕs fate. He seemed to have a presentiment that he was going to be killed, for he told some of the boys the night before he would never live to come out of this battle. But he showed no cowardice. Tell his mother I donÕt think she can ever recover his body and if she could, he was so mutilated she could not bear to look at him. She has the consolation, however, to know he died bravely and in the defense of his country. I trust he has gone to a better place than earth can afford us poor mortals.
Dear Clara, that ring I made for you I guess is not anything more than beef bone. If it was a RebelÕs I hardly think I should of made it. I am not so hard hearted yet as to make rings of human bones. But I guess you donÕt mean what you said. I had to laugh when I read your letter or that part of it. I commenced one for Ida but I broke it before I got it done, but I will try another one and see if I can have better luck with it.
You spoke about telegraphing for me. I donÕt know how it would work here. You can do as you think best about it. I donÕt think it would be a great crime for there are no signs of an exchange very soon and I might as well be there as here, Dear Clara, any way to see you once again.
Yesterday I saw [Gen. or Geo.] Limeback and wife at Fort Corcoran She is the first woman I have had a good talk with since I have been down here. They are living as comfortable as pigs for soldiers. Dear Clara, take good care of your health and the little ones and may heaven bless you and protect you. It will have to be something pretty serious what you telegraph to have me come, I guess. Goodbye. I will try to write oftener.
From your ever true and loving husband forever,
Sergt Peter. L. Dumont.