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 In bivouac near Rappahannock, 4.5 miles below Falmouth, Virginia, May 1, 1863 [fragment]
citement which prevailed, the firing of the rebels & of our
men, previously, and incidents which took place.
A mail came a short time ago, bringing for me, a mag-
azine & several papers, but no letters,- which are most acceptable of all.
Less than half an hour since (it is now 12.45 P.M.)
the men all fell in without arms, Each brigade formed
in close columns by Reg'ts, and Brigade Commanders
read an order, from the Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac (Army of the Potomac) ,
to the effect that “the commander of the Army was happy
to announce that the operations of the 5th (5th Regiment) 11th Regiment & 12th Corps (12th Corps)
for the past three days, had been a series of brilliant a-
chievements & complete successes, so that the rebel army would
be compelled to a disastrous retreat, or to come out and
fight us upon our even ground, in which case they must
be overwhelmingly defeated.” This important and cheering
announcement was received with the heartiest demonstra-
tions of enthusiasm: the cheering was loud & prolonged.
All are in the highest spirits, and would go into a
fight with the greatest alacrity, and with such a spirit as
would be undaunted by no obstacles, but would sweep away
all opposition. A few minutes ago there was heavy cannon-
ading upon our left, but it has now ceased. Two balloons
were up yesterday,- one of them at U.S. Ford, about 8 miles
above Falmouth (Falmouth, Virginia) , the other nearly opposite Falmouth (Falmouth, Virginia) I
should judge; and again today they have been up.
7.20 P.M. There has been hard shelling for
over an hour. The shells struck all around us, & exploded over
our heads. A shell which struck in the 13th Mass. Reg. (13th Regiment, Massachusetts) about
four rods in our rear, hit a stack of guns, killed a Capt.
Lieut. & private, and took off the arm and leg of a Corp.
Another shot killed two & wounded five, in the 90th Pa. Reg. (90th Regiment, Pennsylvania)
Col. Lisle (Lisle (Colonel)) 's Brigade, was close by us. There was some
commotion among our troops, but little disorder was soon.
As the rebel batteries had an excellent range of us, we
soon fell back a short distance, to more sheltered po-
sitions, behind embankments and hills. A good share of
our Div. retired to the road before mentioned, where we lay
awhile yesterday. We now lie at the side of this road, and
are somewhat sheltered; the firing continues, several shots
a minute. The distance from here to the rebel batteries
is estimated to be about 2 ½ miles. I have just been timing
the flight of the shells by the watch, and find it averages
about 12 seconds. The rushing sound of the shells is heard two
or three seconds before they pan over us.
As the shot strike here and there, the dirt is thrown up to
a considerable height. Several shots have struck in the river,
throwing up spray far above the bank.
Three of our batteries are stationed upon a high point a
few roads to our left and rear; and the thunder of the guns
and rush of shot & shell, at each discharge, is almost deaf-
ening. It is now 8 o'c. and is becoming so dark that I can
hardly see to write, so I must put up my book for tonight.
The morrow may be pregnant with important events.
Frid. P.M. I am told that no mail from the Army
goes beyond Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , at present, but is detained there.
There has been no cannonading today here. One of our
Pontoon bridges was taken up last night and put across above
Falmouth (Falmouth, Virginia) .- There has been hard fighting upon our right, across the
river and to the rear of the rebels, and the indications are that
we have been driving them. Please write to Eliza (Cady, Eliza) , as I haven't time