ÒI can earn a little money by my pencil down here, so I think you had better keep what you haveÓ


Camp near KellyÕs Ford VA

[Friday,] November 13, 1863


Dear Clara,


I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same at home.  I received a letter from you last evening and I thought I would answer it today.  We are having very fine weather down here now but nights it is very cold.


You seem to feel very anxious about me in regard to clothing.  I have not suffered yet much from cold weather except my hands.  We have gone through much and suffered a great deal for the past 4 or 5 weeks, but thank God I am well and getting rested now.  I have often wanted to send home for something but I know it takes money and that is what keeps me from sending.  I never think of myself at all.  I am always thinking of you and the little ones and if you are comfortable and not in want. 


I can earn a little money by my pencil down here so I think you had better keep what you have.  I have made 2 pictures and got a dollar for them.  So you see I am not very bad off yet.  I could not wear boots with this uniform if you could send them.  If you are going to live on one dollar a week I am afraid you will live yourself away.  You must not go to starving yourself and the little ones, for in a few days I expect to send you about 50 dollars.  We expect to get paid on or about the 15th of this month.


Tell Kate and Hank I wish them much joy and I think it is about time they let up.  I remember the Thanksgiving, we were happy then, and I hope again to be so.  Tell me what Hank is doing now.


Who takes Ida and Willie to Sunday School?  I should think Willie was too small to go.  I have got all your letters that you have wrote since I have been back.  I think if you get the papers, I mean to subscribe for them, they would be a great deal of company to you.  I am glad your beau comes so often to see you.  I wish we could be sitting in one otherÕs houses as we used to.  We took a great deal of comfort in those days but did not realize it.  I often think of Jake and wish he was here with me.  I always thought as much of him as I did of a brother.  But I hope he is better off than what he would be down here.


I will send Ida a picture to keep her remembering me.  I drawed it in a hurry and painted with another fellowÕs paint.  I wish you would get Mally to send me some cheap watercolors and some drawing paper and brushes and do them up in a package and send them to me.  They wonÕt cost much.  Tell her to get dark blue, light blue, crimson, light red, white, India ink, chrome, yellow, green, light green and a number 1 pencil.  Put them all up in a package and send by mail and I will send her the money for them.  I donÕt know how long we are going to stay here but we are fixing up as if we were going to stay all winter. 


But I must close.  DonÕt be too sparing of money.  Take good care of yourself and little ones.  Give my love to all and may heaven protect you and yours. 


From your husband until death, with love,

Sergt. P. L. Dumont


A kiss to all