Letter written by Rush P. Cady, lieutenant in the 97th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his mother of Rome, New York, from Camp of the 97th Reg. N.Y.V. near Fitzhugh Mansion, Virginia, June 2, 1863
Camp of the 97th Reg. N.Y.V. (97th Regiment, New York)
near Fitzhugh Mansion, Va. (Virginia) (Fitzhugh Mansion, Virginia) June 2d 63. Dear Mother:
Your letter and Father's of the 28th inst. came
to hand yesterday P.M. Of course they were very welcome. I wrote
to you last, upon the 24th inst. naming a few articles in
addition to the list of the day before, that I wished sent me by
express; and seeing that Father has included them in the list
of his purchases. I know that the letters had been received.
I was not disappointed that the Citizen
did not contain extracts from my letters to you, which contained
an account of our experience during the recent movements.
It was just as well: the papers had been full of correspondence
from the army. I may write a short letter for the Citizen this
week, as there are materials for an interesting communication.
The express package will be all right I have no doubt,
judging from the list of contents. I think there are three packages
from New-York (New York) (New York) , none at Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , awaiting an opportunity
to be brought to the Reg. I sent to Joe Warren (Warren, Joe) for a couple of
steel scabbards, one for Aleck (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) & the other for myself (as our leather
scabbards are ruined) for several pairs of shoulder straps, a
couple of blouses (for other officers) a flannel jacket & pants for
myself, some stationery & other articles, and have received
a letter from him stating that he had already forwarded two
packages of plunder, and was about to send another. Our Pur-
veyor promised to bring express packages to me, but has not
done so. I wrote to Mrs. Mendenhall (Mendenhall (Mrs.)) to get them & keep them at
Mrs. Bannerman (Bannerman (Mrs.)) s until she had an opportunity to send them to me
by Mrs. Hill (Hill (Mrs.)) , or some one else, who might be coming to the
Reg. So that I am expecting them, as well as the package
from home, every day.
The monotony of our camp routine has not been much
broken lately. But I have to inform you of an important step
upon my part, which will doubtless cause you some surprise,
inasmuch as I have never intimated to you any such intention;
and although you may not cordially approve the step, I hope
you will not attempt to dissuade me from it.
In connection with several other officers, I have
made application for the command of a Co. of Colored (Company of Colored troops) troops.
An order appeared in the Philada Enquirer & Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) Chron-
icle of Thursday & Friday – 28th & 29th insts, which gave the nec-
essary measures to be taken, by those who wished to secure
positions in Colored Regiments (Colored Regiments) . For those already in the ser-
vice, it was necessary to accompany their letter of applica-
tion, with a certificate of their qualifications, fitness for
command, good moral character, &c. –signed by their Comd'g
officers. These letters of application, with certificates, are sent
to the chief of Bureau for Colored troops (Bureau for Colored troops) , care of the Adj't Genl.
To whom they are presented for approval, & he forwards to such
applicants an order to appear before the Examining Board at Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) ,
at such a date, to be examined as to their “physical, mental & moral
Fitness to command troops”. The Ex. Board makes report to the Adjt Genl.
Of applicants examined & passed, stating for what grade of rank
each applicant is fit. I have little doubt that I can get the position
of a Capt. For which I consider myself just as capable as thousands of
others. However I would be quite willing to go into a Colored Reg. as 1st Lt.
and await the chances of promotion.
I am desirous of leaving the 97th (97th Regiment, New York) as I am entirely dissatisfied
with its discipline, and feel that if ever I wish to attain to any
proficiency in military, the sooner I get into another Reg. the
better. The policy of organizing colored troops is an
important one & is destined to be extensively developed.
The gov't will watch with a jealous eye over the working
of this policy, and will take just pride in its success.
Those ho (who) pass the examination satisfactorily, will
receive authority to recruit in certian (certain) districts through
out the Northern & Western States, to which they may be assigned.
If civilians they will not be commissioned until their Co.s
are ready to be mustered in, or if already com'd officers rec-
ommended for a higher rank, they will secure their promo-
tion in like manner. Should I be so fortunate as to get
recruiting authority, I would of course be able to spend some
time during the summer, in recruiting (which may be con-
sidered a great advantage) & might get a furlough to come
home, which I have no hopes of getting here, as none are
granted now. The other three officers, whose applications
went in with mine, are Capt. Downing (Downing, D.J. (Captain)) , Lieut.s Alexander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) & Rockwell (Rockwell) .
Quite a no. of officers have since made applications, the idea
seeming to have met with general favor: all the prejudices
against the policy of arming the negroes & organizing them in
to Reg.s, having apparently melted away.
Last Saturday Capt.
Bailey (Bailey (Captain)) of the 157th (157th Regiment) paid me a visit,
staying all night. We were reviewed that day by Gen. Rey- nolds (Reynolds, John Fulton (General)) , that is our whole Corps. Bailey (Bailey) gave us an interesting
account of their experience at the battle of Chancellorsville (Chancellorsville, Virginia)
on Sat. when the 11th Corps (11th Corps) (in which his Reg. is) broke so disgrace-
fully, thereby snatching from our grasp the fruits of dearly
bought successes which had preceded, & which was doubtless the
prime cause of our failure of complete triumph.
It would seem that his Reg. conducted itself nobly,
holding its position for some time, in spite of the inglorious
rant which surrounded them. Their loss was considerable,
especially in his Co. He has neither a Lieut. nor Serg. Left.
When I informed him of my application, with other
officers of our Reg. for a position in a Colored Reg. (Colored Regiment) he signified his intention
of also immediately applying, & of course I posted him as to the
About 7 o'c. A.M. Sunday, having procured a horse,
I rode with Bailey (Bailey) over to the camp of the 50th (50th Regiment) which was
not much out of his way, & perhaps less than four miles
from here, beyond White Oak Church. It was a beautiful
morning & we had a delightful ride. We had quite a visit
with Capt. Cody Palmer (Palmer, Cody) . He was in Excellent health, & looked