“We have climbed to the top of the hill and are now on a downward course, but I am afraid the downhill will be the worst”


Camp at Warrenton Junction VA

Thursday, [April] 14, 1864


Dear Clara,


I have just received your kind and welcome letter tonight and I hasten to reply.  Oh, you can’t tell how often I have looked for this one letter but every time I was disappointed.  But I am glad to learn that you are all well at home.  I am happy to let you know that this leaves me the same.  


Some way or other I did not like the idea of your going downtown when I first read your letter, but I suppose it is all for the best.  If Lotty stays with you I shall not care so much about it.  I am glad you have got out of that paddy hole any way for you have lived there long enough.  But I don’t feel as if you will get along as well down there amongst strangers as you would where you was acquainted.  But I hope everything is for the best.


We are having drills here now every day and every other forenoon we have target practice.  The weather is warm and pleasant.  Today the sutters are all leaving the army and things begin to look as if the Spring Campaign has commenced.  We are all ready so in case we are ordered to leave here to go immediately.  But there is some hopes entertained by those that hate to leave that we will remain here to guard the railroad.  But I would not be surprised if we had Orders to move any time.


I have not been transferred to the navy yet, nor has any one else out of the Regt, but I yet entertain hopes that I will soon go.  There seems to be some fault with the Commanding Officers in complying with the Order, showing reluctance to parting with any of their Command.  But I don’t see how they can get around disobeying an Act of Congress without being reprimanded and cashiered from the Service.


I have not got but one letter from George since I have been down here and that I answered immediately.  I would write oftener to all of you and perhaps to more of my friends if it were not for the cost of postage.  It would serve to while away many tedious hours of Camp life.  It costs a great deal in the course of a year, Clara, what little you and me write. 


I am afraid you will think I have reserved more money for my own use this winter than was necessary down here, but since we came to the Junction, I mean at this Camp, they have had a good many things to sell such as eggs, cabbage and onions, butter and flour, and we have had to pay dreadful high prices for them whenever we took a notion to get them.  But I never bought any of these yet, but I always thought, or rather seemed to me, as if I was taking it away from you and my little ones, and how much more good it would of done you, because I might as well lived on Uncle Sam all winter as not, for now it will come pretty hard when we can’t get any of these things any more.  Sutters will not be allowed in the army again until next winter.


You must give me the number of the house you live in and tell me where it is so I can direct my letters.


We have climbed to the top of the hill and are now on a downward course, but I am afraid the downhill will be the worst.  I am in hopes this Summer will finish all the fighting so we may have a chance of getting home before our 3 years.


As I have not much more news to write, I will bring my letter to a close.  Take good care of yourself and our little ones.  Give my love to all enquiring friends and may a kind Providence guide and protect you [in] all your trials.  Write soon and oblige your ever affectionate husband.  Goodbye for now.  God bless you all.


Your husband with love,

Sergt. P. L. Dumont


P.S.  Tell Lotty to write


I am afraid you have lost your old beau Sarah Graff……… a kiss