ŇThis is a very wicked placeÓ
Arlington Heights, Camp Seward
Wednesday, October 22nd 1862
[letterhead of United States Capitol]
Letter No. 6
I take the present opportunity of letting you know how I am getting along today, because I donŐt know when and where I will have a chance to write to you again. I have been so I could hardly walk for a couple of days past. I am all swelled up in the groins and broke out in sores. The doctors donŐt know what to make of it. The soldiers here say I have got the camp itch but the doctors say I havenŐt. I hardly believe the surgeons know much.
We have got marching orders for HarpersŐ Ferry tomorrow and the doctor said he would have to leave me behind. I suppose I will have to go to Washington Hospital. I donŐt want you should worry or fret on my account because I donŐt feel sick at all only my appetite is poor and I am lame and sore. I have to go about, when I do go, straddle-legged and all the boys laughing at me. The health of the regiment at present is very poor. Most all kinds of sickness is prevailing here at present. Some regiments is getting vaccinated for small pox around here. Some of the soldiers is a going to be discharged from our regiment for sickness.
There is a great deal of talk of a great battle pending here in Virginia before a great while. Last night there was a regiment of nine months men came to anchor alongside of us and I tell you they have seen hard times. They have only been out 3 months and have been moving ever since they have been out. They was at the Battle of Antietam and can tell some hard stories. The government will give them enough of it for all their nine months.
I guess the wind has blowed so for two days past you could hardly see the length of your nose on account of the sand and dirt. It shakes the tent so I can hardly write. I have not received any letter from you as yet. I have looked for one some days or two past. This is the sixth one I have wrote to you. This letter is covered with Virginia sand and it looks awful dirty. Clara I donŐt want you to fail to write to me. Think of me as one who could never fill the place I held in your heart. Tell my folks I think of them although I do not write to them. You let them read your letters and I think that will do just as well. This is such a bad place to write, we having to lie on the ground to write. Tell Ida Pa will come home one of these days and her [missing words?]. Poor little girl. The tears fall from my eyes while I am writing this. I hope to see you all one of these days again if God is willing.
This is a very wicked place but donŐt fear for me because you know what I have been heretofore. We have got a young clergyman here and I hope he will do some good. He is only about 17 years old, I should think. Last Sabbath he held a meeting on the ground and it was very well attended. He gave religious books to all that would take them.
Direct your letter to Peter L Dumont Washington 146 Regiment Co A Capt Cone
I send you a piece of ising [sic] glass taken from rocks at the Battlefield of Antietam in Maryland. Them soldiers give it to me last night Clara, kiss the children for me every night when you go to bed and be a good woman for my sake for I love you better than anything else on earth. Give my respects to all enquiring friends I look at your picture every chance I get and think of you and all of you left at home. I hope you will stay with father and mother all the while I am gone. I shall feel better satisfied for your being there than anywhere else. Write and let me know if you got that $33 I sent by ConeŐs father or not. If not you must get it. I guess this is all at present
Ever & ever
P L Dumont
True to the LastÓ