ŌTomorrow is going to be a sad day here, there is going to be a couple of deserters shotĶ
[Tuesday,] September 8, 1863
Feeling quite lonesome today I thought I would write you a few lines today and commence a letter, but I guess I wonÕt finish it today. I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all the same at home. I have been looking for a letter for two or 3 days past but donÕt get any. I have been to see our Lieut. today and had a talk with him about getting home. He told me he would write a recommend for me to get a furlough on tonight. I showed him my recommend from the Col. and he thinks I can get one if we stay here long enough. We are not exchanged and there is not any prospects of our being so at present.
Dear Clara, it is hard to stay away from home when I want to come so bad and am not of any use. I am afraid the government will be the losers by keeping us penned up so tight. When they come to exchange us, if they ever do, I am afraid the most of them will desert on purpose to get home. Tomorrow is going to be a sad day here, there is going to be a couple of deserters shot close to our Camp. I have heard some of our own boys tell there was 16 of them came here from the front a couple of days ago and they witnessed the execution of them men out there. They say it was the hardest thing they have seen since they have been down here. Most all was affected to tears. If so, God knows I do not want to see it.
Our boys that came here have been put in the invalid Corps. They are worn out. Gone up for active service, they was the hardest looking set of men I have ever seen. They have suffered every thing this summer. Ben Chapman, the hardest looking and biggest man in the Regt, is broke down. He is here at Convalescent Camp. Mother knows him very well.
We are drawing new clothing. I will have to get me another pair of pants and stockings. We do not hear anything about getting any more pay just yet. I do not know whether we will get paid here or not again. They had orders to muster us but they was countermanded again until further orders. One of our Sergts that came from the Regt says we have been struck off of the Regimental Books and marked on Detached Service. I nor no one else can tell what it means. But it sounds as if we were not going back to the Regt very soon. I have been a Prisoner of War now 4 months and 8 days and I begin to feel tired of this kind of life.
Wednesday the 9th: Dear Clara, I am feeling quite well today and I hope you are the same. Today is the day that executions was to come off of them Deserters, but I guess it was postponed. It is very warm here today. Our boys wrote a letter to us from the Regt. and they say the Captain has gone back to take Command of his Company with one arm.
Dear Clara, I wish I was at home, last night more than ever. We sat up very late telling stories last evening and every thing made me think of home. I sometimes wonder and ask myself if you ever think as often and much about me as I do of you and the little ones. Jus so soon as business is off of my mind I begin to think of you and home. Sometimes I wish I was not so, for I think it makes me miserable. But I canÕt help it.
I think I will get a letter from you today. I want to hear if you have gone picking hops or not. Oh dear, I want to fill out this sheet and I want to fill it, with the boys keep me getting up and making out passes and running after them all the time. I have been very busy making out clothing rolls all this week so far, but I have got most through now.
How does Sarah Graff feel now? I wonder if she has most forgot Jake. I wish you and she could live together while I am gone. I think she would make good company for you and I think you would agree together first rate. I do not hear anything from Tom al all. Poor fellow, he hated to go back to the Regt. awful bad. How I pitied him, but it did not do any good.
Oh Dear, if I had of know I was a going to be here so long I would sent for you to come here and stayed with me. But it is too late now to think of it. It is very hard to find good company here. There is nothing but low and vulgar conversation going on all the time and I do not wish to hear it. You must lump it. But once in a while we can come across a few good ones but they are chiefly to be found amongst the old married men.
I think you know Michael Keating, he has got so he donÕt send any money to his wife at all but spends it amongst the women in Alexandria and Washington, and Phil Smith and Lib MurrayÕs brother has got something to remember them by for some time to come. Oh it is awful, such doings in this world. I wonder what things are coming to. I guess Phil or Andy, neither one sends any money home. It is so bad, but they have got past taking advice and they wonÕt have anyone preach to them, as they call it. I sometimes feel for such persons on account of their foolishness and they donÕt know any better, and then again I think let them go and run the length of the rope.
But I must begin to think of coming to a close. If you hear any one write about me what I have wrote about them, you can make up your mind that I have gone stark mad, for as long as God gives me my proper sense and faculties for reasoning you will never hear from me in such a way. You must give my love to father and mother, sisters and brothers, and all inquiring friends. Dear Clara, take good care of yourself and little ones. I hope to see you all safe and sound one of these days. God bless and keep you for my sake until I see you all again, if God so wills it. Goodbye for the present.
From your husband ever true until death,
Sergt. P.L. Dumont