ŇThanksgiving DayÉ crackers and salt pork for dinnerÓ


Thanksgiving Day, November 27h 1862



Dear Clarinda,


I have been pretty sick since I last wrote to you but I am glad to let you know that I am getting better and I hope these few lines will find you all enjoying good health.  We have made another march nearer Fredericksburg and are now only 5 miles from the enemy.  I suppose I have taken a pretty hard cold and have got the Erysyplius.  Day before yesterday I was led by Tom and Fletch to the hospital, blind so that I could not see daylight from darkness..  My head was swollen twice the natural size.  You could not see that I ever had an eye in my head at all but my sight is so far come to me again that I can write this letter after a fashion.


We have a great deal of wet weather down here and the north is losing more men for lying in the cold wet ground than they will lose by battle.  It is surprising to see the sick men here.  Every morning most of them complain of colds and lame backs and all kinds of rheumatism.  I hope they will send us in winter quarters or do something with us to get us away from here.


We can see the rebel camps from here quite plainly.  They say Gen. Lee is there with a hundred and forty thousand to resist us and he donŐt mean to leave Fredericksburg at all.  He has sent all the women and children away and is making strong preparations to meet us.  Today the pioneers has gone to fix the roads to haul our cannon down to shell them out.  Our pickets is out every night and they say they stack their arms and talk with one another quite freely.


There is quite a number of resignations taken place in our Regt.  Amongst them is Capt. Cone and Lieut. Smith of Co. F, Lieut. Trueax of Co. C and Lieut. Wicks of Co. R. and there is strong talk of Capt. Lewis.  Lieut. Stanford has been assigned to the charge of the ambulance train of the Brigade.  He feels big over it, he has got a horse to ride now ant that is a great [missing word] down here.  I tell you we poor fellows have to tramp up hill and down through mud and everything else. 


They say our march from Washington here was a great deal over 100 miles.  We took such a round about way in coming.  You must know it was a hard one for me because I could never walk much.  I think the men will make good pack peddlers if they ever get home again.  They can carry a load on their backs and stand a good travel without grumbling much.  I have not received any letter from you yet although the mail has come since we have been here.  Letters dated about the 20th have come but no back ones have been received.  This morning I was lying in the hospital and I heard the mail had come out and I run out to hear from home but there was nothing for me and I went back again disappointed enough. 


Most all here are enjoying pretty good health.  I donŐt know whether I shall be well enough to go in the fight when they get ready or not.  I will tell you the truth, I have not seen what I would call a well day since I have been down here and what is more I donŐt think I ever shall.  There is something down here that donŐt agree with me at all.  I am all broke out in spots just the same as at Camp Seward.  I did not do any duty there and I guess I shanŐt here.  The least bit of cold seems to lay me up right off.  I guess I ainŐt as tough as I used to be.  This I think is 6 letters I have wrote since we left Camp Seward but I have not much faith in your getting them all.  There is a great deal of danger of the mail getting intercepted by the Rebels.  Dear Clara, when you get this donŐt feel bad because I am sick again because I may be better when you get this.  I felt awful bad when I got up in the morning and found my eyes closed and the world shut out from my view, but thank the Lord I can see about as well as ever.  They all flocked around me in the morning and I could hear them talk but I could not see them.


Today we have got crackers and salt pork for dinner and they are all talking and wondering what you have got good to eat at home.  Dear Clara, when you get this write immediately and let me know all the news.  Kiss my little ones for me and think I am watching over you all the time.  Give my regards to all inquiring friends and hoping GodŐs blessing rests on you all.


I remain yours truly and faithfully forever,

From yours alone,

P.L. Dumont