ŇI donŐt see the fun in a soldierŐs lifeÓ
Arlington Heights, Camp Seward
Monday, October 20th 1862
[letterhead of red, white, and blue tree with American flags and banner UNION]
I take the present opportunity of letting you know how I am doing. At present I feel pretty well except a slight cold and headache. I am all broke out in the face and hands and swelled up in blotches. The doctor is puzzled to tell what ails me. Some tell me I have got the itch but I hope not. There are a great many sick ones here at present. I suppose that march to Washington fetched some of them pretty bad. Among the sick that you know are Fletcher, Tom Thickens, Geo. Whitten, John McGuire, and Ed Lomis, he was fooling with a gun on Sunday and shot his right forefinger pretty bad but I think he will not lose it. I canŐt say whether it was accidental or done on purpose. Any way, if he done it to cheat the government he did not gain his object because he will have to stay.
They have a story around here this morning that Fordis Phelps was drowned in the river on our way from New York. Anyway I have not seen him since we have been here. There is two other ones.
Yesterday was Sunday and I went over to the Arlington House, formerly the residence of General George Washington but lately the house or residence of the rebel Gen. Lee. I picked some rose leaves from his garden which I send to you. I thought you would like to see something from here. This morning [Swertfinger] gave me some apple blows which I send also. There is plenty of them here. I suppose they are for the second crop.
Clara, we have to lie on the hard ground with all our clothing on to keep from freezing the nights are so bitter cold, and daytimes it is too warm. We have not got any straw and they say we canŐt have any. They couldnŐt provide straw in this country for so many of us. Mornings we have to get up at the call of drum at half past five and cook our breakfast before daylight so as to be on duty at sunrise. I donŐt see the fun in a soldierŐs life at all. I hope you will cast a thought on us once in a while when you go to your beds and tables and think we endure hardships never seen in our homes far away.
Our Colonel does not get any better as I see. Yesterday Col. Corcoran passed by here with his brigade of McMickeys. I had a good sight of him. They are encamped close by us, a fine lot of soldiers as ever were.
Dear Clara, coax the girls and folks to write and write yourself. You donŐt know how much good it will do me. I have not received any letter yet from anybody. There is no fences or houses in this place, the whole country clear of everything. You canŐt get a sight of a woman at all. Write how the children are and if they speak of me.
Dear, I am yours the same forever and forever until death.
Peter L. Dumont
Direct your letter to Washington, 146 Regiment, P.L. Dumont, Co. A, Capt. Cone.
[at top of last page] This is five letters I have sent you