ŇGod knows how long it will be before I see you, maybe neverÓ


Camp Parole VA Near Alexandria

Sunday, August 23 [1863]


Dear Clara,


I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all the same at home.  It is most dreadful hot here today, so warm I cannot write with any comfort.  I some expected to get a letter from you today.  I am very anxious to hear whether you have received that money I sent you or not.  I postponed writing until late for I thought I would get a letter.


Dear Clara, it was a year ago yesterday since I enlisted and how long it seems since I left you.  God only know how long it will be before I see you, maybe never.  But I hope before another year has past and gone the war we are engaged in will [be] over never to come again. 


There seems to be considerable talk about our Exchange.  Some think we will not be exchanged while other think we will be exchanged at an early day.  The proper day for our exchange was on the 6th of August, but that is past long ago.  I hardly think they will exchange us at all by what the Papers say, and yet I donŐt want you to build up any hopes on what I say, for we may be ordered to our Regiments at any day. 


I am prepared for better or for worse, let come what may, but oh how bad I want to see you.  If I could only come home for a few days just to see you and the children once more.  Last night I could not go to sleep and lay thinking of you most all night, and I thought if I did not get a furlough it would make me feel awful bad.  But then I thought of it again, and oh how bitter would be the parting of the second time, and perhaps it would be better if God did not see fit to let [me] come home just yet, for it would be a hard thing for me to come back again. 


I have often thought of our parting.  It was a hard one but it was perhaps for the better.  I merely had a glimpse of all that I held most dear on earth.  I little thought to leave you so.   I have heard from the Regiment quite lately and how much they have suffered.  That noble band of men that left Rome last fall numbering about nine hundred men is now reduced to about one hundred and seventy or eighty men.  The Lieutenant Col. commands it now and them that are with the Regt writes to us that if we can possibly keep away from it we had better, for they say they have nothing but hardships and abuse now. 


The 4th Oneida has not seen much of the war yet.  There are some of its members here in Convalescent Camp and I was talking with them and they say they have never seen a greyback or Rebel yet.  They have had a good time around the fortifications while our Regt. has endured all the hardships and privations of war.  


Dear Clara, I have just got a couple of Papers such as they distribute amongst us here every Sunday.  I will send them to you for I think you have not seen them before.  I have wrote most all I can think of today so I will come to a close.  Remember my love to all of my folks and all inquiring friends.  You must direct your letters to me the same as on the bottom of this letter to insure their safety to me.  Dear Clara, I hope to see you soon and hear from you.  Goodbye for now my dearest wife.  May heaven guide and protect you.  Kiss the little children often for me.  Tell little Ida her Papa will come home one of these days.  A kiss to you all.


From yours and yours only until death,



Sergt. Peter L. Dumont

Camp Parole Near Alexandria VA

146 N.Y.S. Vols