ŇTell the folks we are almost starved and froze to deathÓ


Camp Seward

Friday, November 7th 1862


[letterhead embossed with small shield]


I am well at present and hope these few lines find you all warm and comfortable which I canŐt say of us poor soldiers.  This morning the soldiers are suffering beyond description.  There is 3 inches of snow on the ground and it is so bitter cold we canŐt stand it without suffering considerable.  The boys have tried to build arches in their tents of pieces of old stovepipe and mud stones and everything else, but they smoke so they drive us all outdoors where we have to stand and take it.  I tell you it is pretty hard on some of them. 


Some men that was here last winter say they never saw such weather all through the whole winter.  It snow and blows so we canŐt cook anything to eat and so we must eat bread and water.  We will have to stand it some way or other, I hardly know how myself, and the worst of it the Col has just come from Washington and he says we must pack up and leave in this storm.   Where and how we are going, God only knows.  I have just heard it hinted that we was going to Thoroughfare Gap.  I tell you it is awful.  The boys stand around and slap their arms around their body and are wet to the skin and some of them try to stick it out in their tents and are crying from the smoke.  I tell you if I only was at home with you now no money would hire me to go through what we go through here.  The boys have all got the home fever this morning, the worst kind. 


Clara, I have told you the truth just how we are situated here this morning.  While I am writing Fletch sits in the tent wilt eating some cold beans from yesterday and day bread.  He says tell the folks we are almost starved and froze to death.  He says he has got enough of soldierŐs life and more to than he bargained for.  I wish you could see us just now,  you would laugh and cry both.  Our tent is all mud and wet and cold as ice.  I am writing this in smoke so I have to stop every minute to wipe my eyes.  I am so cold my teeth chatter in my head.  Fletch says tell them the truth and let them know just how we are, and I have done so without stretching it a bit.


I thought I would write this morning because I donŐt know when I will have a chance to write to you again.  God only knows where we are going or what will become of us for I canŐt tell.  I donŐt want you should take on and cry because I have wrote such a letter, for when you are reading this I hope we shall have better weather and then we will feel better.  But Clara I could not help writing this and letting you know the truth.  Maybe I have done wrong, if so tell me so. 


Dear Clara I hope to see you and talk with you and the children once more and then there will be better times.  Give my love to all my folks and read them this letter.  Also my regards to all inquiring friends and God bless and protect you all.


From your own now and forever,

P.L. Dumont