ÒYou canÕt trust your best friends with a secretÓ
Camp Convalescent VA
[Thursday,] July 16, 1863
I received your very welcome letter yesterday, but being on duty I could not answer it very well. I am sorry to hear that Ida is so bad. I thought the next letter that I got would bring news that she was entirely well now.
Dear Clara, I will tell you how Fletch came to know about your sending for me. He was crying around and asking me every day if there was not some way to get home, so I told him if he would promise me never to say anything to anyone I would tell him how. I thought he might get one. You see, I wonÕt lie about it for I thought he would never tell you or his folks that you had done so for me. But you see, you canÕt trust your best friends with a secret.
I know Otto Gulick, he is one of them Dutch meat peddlers that lives near the [Capron] factory. I sent you a letter with a ring in it for Ida, but owing to the roads being in a bad state I donÕt know whether you will get it or not, and then I sent you a paper with a receipt for 20 dollars which I sent by express. I hope you have got it before now. I was before you in sending for that money. When I got your letter there must have been 20 dollars near Utica on its way to you. I might of sent it before just as well as not, but I thought if I was coming home I could bring it myself. I am sorry you had to send for it.
I donÕt think you use a great deal of money. Sometimes I wonder how you get along with as little as you do. You have forgot, dear Clara, that you sent me ten dollars. I am sorry that I have spent so much money but I could not help it. Dear Clara, we have lived so poor here that I have bought a great deal to eat and we have to pay double here what everything is worth, and besides I have had to buy some things I could not get along without. I hope you wonÕt blame me. They say we will get paid off next week and if we do I will send you all of it. There is most 3 months pay due me now.
Tell me I your next letter what Mary that was stayed with you. I suppose though it was Mary Myers. What is she doing now?
Dear Clara, donÕt scold me for telling Fletch for I thought I was doing a favor and I little thought it would come back to you so soon. There is not much to write so I will come to a close. Take good care of yourself and little ones. Give my love to all inquiring friends.
Hoping to hear from you soon. I remain yours in love and truth,
Peter L. Dumont