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NYSL Public Program: A Hard Battle: Peter and Clarinda Dumont's Civil War Letters
Peter L. Dumont was a Union soldier who was born in Schoharie County and had moved to Utica as a teenager. Over an eighteen-month period following his enlistment, he sent eighty detailed letters home to his wife Clarinda, writing with candor about military life and sketching pictures. He chronicled his harrowing experiences fighting for the Army of the Potomac, including in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and described his confinement in a Confederate prison.

The letters were given to their daughter, who passed them down through the generations in a cardboard box marked "War Letters from My Father to My Mother.” Now, over 150 years later, their great-great-great granddaughter Diana McCarthy has transcribed the letters, and will present their stories for the first time.

Step back in history to learn about Peter's battles, including his desperate efforts to get a furlough home, and how Clarinda sought assistance from Clara Barton's Missing Soldiers Office to discover what happened to her husband a year after he disappeared in the Battle of the Wilderness.

Diana McCarthy is a retired teacher and public administrator. She lives in Delmar NY with her husband Brian. Diana has her Masters’ Degree in Education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, and has taught in public and not-for-profit schools. She served as an adult educator and training administrator for three New York State agencies. In her retirement, Diana enjoys participating in historical societies and researching her family’s Civil War Letters. Diana and the letters, which are now in the NYS Library’s collection, were featured in an Albany Channel 10 News Special Report on May 5, 2021, the 157th anniversary of her ancestor’s disappearance in the Battle of the Wilderness.

Jun 15, 2021 11:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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