“We had 96 Conscripts come to our Regt on the battlefield and they looked most scared to death”


Camp at New Baltimore VA

Five Miles from Warrington

[Thursday,] October 22, 1863


Dear Clarinda,


I have just received a letter from you written on the 11th and hasten to answer it.  We have just gone into Camp for the first time in 13 days.  Oh, we have had a hard time of it.  My feet are so sore and ankles are all swelled up so couple of days more would of laid me out so I could not of gone any farther.  But thank God we are all safe and right at last. 


We have been retreating and advancing, sometimes driving the enemy and sometimes they drove us.  At one time we were at Fairfax, fifteen miles from Washington, and then we would advance and the Rebs would skedaddle, and all this time we have been carrying the load of a horse.  They have kept 8 days rations on our back all the time.  There has been some pretty hard fighting, but as luck would have it we did not get into it.


We have taken quite a number of Rebel prisoners and they, the Rebs, have taken some of our but not near as many.  It has been one of the hardest marches I ever saw.  We was at it night and day.  But now we are stopped and thank the Lord for it for we need rest very much.


What Gen. Mead’s intentions are, no one knows, but we all think we will lay here for a few days.  I suppose you will look and look for a letter from me, but this is the first chance I have had to write to you, and even if I had of wrote I could not of sent it before now and there has been no mail coming in since we have been on the move.


We had 96 Conscripts come to our Regt. on the battlefield and they looked most scared to death.  It was a bad time to bring them to us, but they are all right now and improve the looks of our Regt. very much by filling up its thinned and vacant ranks.


Poor Fletch had to march one day on his stocking feet.  The soles of his shoes came off and he could not get any more.  He had very bad feet, but we are all where we can rest and get recruited up a little now.  Otherwise the health of the Regt is all right.


You spoke about seeing Bill Dagwell on the street.  I answered his letter immediately, and you say you have found out what that is about me, and after writing a page and a half about telling me, you have not done so yet.  In your letter you kept saying you would tell me, but after reading it over a number of times I could not find it.  So you will have to write about it again, for upon my honor I do not know what it is and it has never been told me.


Tom is well and feels so.  But he thinks Julia is at home.  I shouldn’t wonder if I did not have to write him a letter this afternoon to send to her.   It will be a month yet if not more before we get any pay, and I hope you will not come to want before that time.  I think then I can send you a pretty good sum.  When I write again I will try and give you more of the particulars of this move, but as it is I cannot for I do not know them myself, and rest assured that I have not forgotten you and the little ones because you did not hear from me sooner than this.  The most that I cared about it was I might get wounded and then it might be a long time before you heard from me.


But I must come to a close.  Give my love to mother and all at home and to Sarah Graff and all inquiring friends.  Take good care of the little ones and yourself.  May the blessing of heaven attend you all until we meet again.  Write soon.  From your husband ever until death with love.  Goodbye until you hear from me again.


Yours and yours only,

Sergt. P. L. Dumont