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 near "Fitzhugh Mansion", Virginia, May 21, 1863
MAY 14 [no year]
D. C. (District of Columbia)
May 23 ?3 [year unclear]
[written in margins: No. 25.
In Camp near Fitzhugh Mansion, Va. (Virginia)
Thursday, May 21. 1863. Dear Mrs. D. Cady (Cady, Daniel (Mrs., Fidelia W. Palmer)) (Cady, Fidelia W. (Mrs. Daniel Cady)) :
I last wrote you on the 16th.
Inst. (No. 24.) and though I have since received
no letters from home, I will take the present
opportunity to send you a few lines.-
Upon the 18th we again changed our
camp, going out into the clearing, where
the camps of each brigade are more
regularly laid out. The round we oc-
cupy was covered with stumps and un-
derbrush, but it has since been cleared
up & burned, so that it now looks very
well. This is the third camp we have oc-
cupied, since the late march.
About 1 o'c. our Reg. (or rather a
detail of 150 men & 4 officers, including my-
self) returned from a two days picket, a-
bout a mile & a half out, & within a short
distance of the River. We had a pretty good
time, the duty being comparatively light.
We had plenty of milk, which we bought
of the farmers for 25 to 50 cts a canteen
full (3 pts); but as it was a great lux-
ury to us, we were determined to enjoy it,
for the time, “regardless of expense”. Soft bred (bread),
boston crackers, honey cheese &c. constituted
our fare. The country where we
were, is very fine,- soil very fertile, & or-
chards thrifty, though by far the greater
proportion of the land is uncultivated.
imagine that the main business of
the farmers about here is to raise niggers
for the southern market, as they had a
good many slave women, & lots of chil-
dren, of different ages, and few or no
adult males; at any rate hardly enough
to carry on the farming operations.
The farmers are not putting in many crops
this season, as there is so little security of their
harvesting them. They calculate to raise
barely enough for subsistence.
There are few white males to be found, most
Of them being in the rebel army.
From one point of our picket line, we
could see a rebel camp, across the River,
and a train of baggage wagons, and quite a body of
rebel troops drilling – firing blank cartridges.
The weather was very pleas-
ant indeed while we were out, and
continues so, though pretty warm today.
No dew fell at night, except in the
vallies – along creeks, so that one was per-
fectly comfortable with a single blanket
over him. I have not written a letter
for the citizen, though I rather intended to
this week. Perhaps I will next; I don't think it
a matter of much consequence any way.
Would you advise me to write often for the
Citizen? Nine months & two years reg'ts
have been leaving every day: it doesn't look
right to see large reg'ts of 9 mo.s men, who
have but just begun to be useful, and are
but just prepared for efficient service, going
home, while the three years regts, which have
been in many battles, & have endured the
hardships of many campaigns, and
which are consequently mere remnants,
of what they once were, have to remain.
The 3d Brigade (3rd Brigade), to which we have
belonged since Nov. last (while at Rappa-
hannock (Rappahannock) Station) has been broken up, the
regts being assigned to the 1st (1st Brigade) & 2d Brigade (2nd Brigade)s
as the 26th N.Y. (26th Regiment, New York) the 136th Pa. (136th Regiment, Pennsylvania) & other regts
have gone home. Our Reg. together with the
11th (11th Regiment, Pennsylvania) & 88th Pa. (88th Regiment, Pennsylvania) are assigned to the 2d Brig-
ade (Brigade) (2nd Brigade), commanded by Brig. Gen. Baxter (Baxter, Henry (Brigadier General)) , an
Elderly man & an excellent officer.
Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) is in first rate health,- will
write again soon. Bye & bye I think he will
be able to get into the “Involved Corps”, or to
get his discharge. I send you a rose
which I picked yesterday, while on picket.
It may be worth preserving as a “memen-
tos of Secession”. Love to all,-