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 Belle Plain Landing, Virginia, January 3, 1863
Camp near Belle Plain Landing, Va. (Virginia) (Belle Plains, Virginia)
Jan. 3. 1863. Dear Mother,
Your very good letter, enclosing Grandmother's, was
received last evening, & nothing for some time, has afforded me
so much pleasure as the perusal of them both, together with the
reception of that box of good things, which also came to hand
yesterday, having been brought from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , by Lieut. Rowan (Rowan (Lieutenant)) ,
A.A. Quartermaster. The books are just such as I wanted, -heavy, sub-
stantial & waterproof, & will outlast any two prs to be bought
here.- The gloves are quite suitable, as also the shirt, which is a nice
large one, the flask, comb, match box, &c &c;- all very ac-
ceptable indeed. The apples are indeed a luxury. I haven't seen
but two before, for some time, & those cost 5 cts apiece, I believe,
at the Landing.- Mr. Comstock (Comstock (Mr.)) , came day before yester-
day, brining (bringing) a quantity of butter & cheese, & our mess bought
some of him, (the butter 50 cts, & the cheese at 30 cts per lb.) So that
I think I shall keep mine till the rest is gone. Butter has
been an exceeding rarity;- we had some at Brooks' Station (Brooks' Station, Virginia) ,
which Col. Spofford (Spofford (Lieutenant Colonel)) brought, but none since, till now.
I had been intending to write to you before, as it is
some time since I have written, but have been so completely
engaged, in drawing & issuing clothing, arms & accoutrements,
attending to drills, Reviews & Inspections; & also making out
clothing accounts for the year, & Muster & Pay Rolls, in itself quite
a job, that I have been unable to do anything else. These duties
over to last page.
2 have come so continuously, one after another, & being obliged
to attend to them all personally, keeping all the accounts &
doing all the writing, that I have had to work pretty hard
some days; but I have got along nicely, & have the satis-
faction of knowing that I have done all that was required,
& I flatter myself, systematically & will.- In the making
out of my Pay Rolls, I have taken much pains, & generally
pride myself on having as nice a sett (set) as any of them.
When I presented my Rolls this time to the Col. without
a scratch, or a blot, or a mistake any where on them, he
said “I will award you the premium; these are by far the
finest Rolls of the lot, & I am sure none neater or better, have
ever gone to the Pay Muster.” And he showed them as “pattern
Rolls”, to several of the officers.- I have written to Eliza (Cady, Eliza)
since receiving her last letter, though it is time I wrote again.
I have not heard from Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) since he left, except by way
of Mr. Comstock (Comstock (Mr.)) , who said that Dr. Climer (Climer (Dr.)) (Med. Director.), came down to Mrs.
Bannerman (Bannerman (Mrs.)) 's to see him, the day he ( Mr. C. (C. (Mr.)) ) came out here.
He thought Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) would be able to start for home, in
a short time, though now almost helpless, as far as walking
is concerned.- Nothing new has taken place here,
worth mentioning, since I last wrote, except what you
have already seen in the papers.- We seldom get the Daily
Papers, now, so that we are often in the dark, as regards the news
of the day. You have heard how many Sutlers have been
taken, with their wagons, lately, by detachments of rebel
cavalry. One of our Sutlers, Mr. McGee (McGee (Mr.)) , was among the
3 first lot captured, with his wagon, & three horses, & a load
of tobacco, mess kits &c. for the officers, which cost him
upwards of 500 dolls. It was nearly two weeks ago that
he started from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , coming by way of Alexandria (Alexandria, Virginia) ,
Occoquan (Occoquan, Virginia) , & Dunfries (Dumfries, Virginia) , between the latter of which places he
was taken, together with five other Sutlers. Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) & I
had sent by him, for a mess kit,- frying pan, coffee pot, kettle,
tin war &c, besides condensed milk & some such things,
which he had aboard with him.
Three or four days ago, we received orders to be in
readiness to get ready to march in 12 hours, after getting
definite orders, when we should prepare three days cooked ra-
tions, & carry two days rations in the wagons. This looked
like another movement, we thought, but it did not dis-
turb our equanimity in the least, nor lessen our determi-
nation to enjoy the present comfort while we could.
We generally act upon the supposition that we are to remain
permanently where we are,- thus entrenching ourselves as
comfortably as possible.
The weather has continued very pleasant lately,- pretty cold
sometimes, to be sure, especially at night, when there are
heavy frosts, & it freezes hard. But during the day time, it
gets warm & comfortable. New-Years was an exceedingly
fine day, but nothing occurred, to relieve the monotony
of camp life,- we were then at work on our Pay Rolls.
I received a letter from Ev.
Briggs (Briggs, Ev.) , at Baltimore (Baltimore, Maryland)
few days ago, sending for his Descriptive List. He did not write
anything about himself,- about his being very sick, or what he
intended to do. If Mr. Sandford (Sandford (Mr.)) published his paper on Wed. this
week, the same as last, my letter, which I sent on Friday, was
probably too late; but I hope not. As Maj. Northup (Northrup, Charles (Major)) surmised,
those two Officers referred to, were Capt. Hopkins (Hopkins (Captain)) & Lieut. Car- penter (Carpenter (Lieutenant)) . The press of opinion, & the expressions of the officers are
very strong – in denunciation of their conduct.- One has re-
signed, & the other will be obliged to follow suit, I think.
We just got a new stove yesterday, of sheet iron,
conical shape, which warms our tent nicely. Lieut. Rowan (Rowan (Lieutenant))
brought several of them, from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , costing about 3.50
each. We will not have to shiver any longer in the cold.
A short time ago, I was appointed “1st Lieut. to date
from Sept. 24. '62. vice Joseph Warren (Warren, Joe) discharged”, & “ Geo. Alex- ander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) 2d Lieut. Sept. 24. vice R. P. Cady (Cady, Rush Palmer (Lieutenant)) promoted.” Our names
have gone in thus on the Pay Rolls. We expect to receive our
Commissions from Albany (Albany, New York) soon. I am very glad, for Alex- ander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) 's sake, that he has received the promotion so richly earned.
And its being dated back to Sept. 24. so that he will draw pay
from that time, will be quite a pecuniary advantage to him.
I shall write to Mr. Abbott (Abbott (Mr.)) , to have him stop a couple
of those papers, as we do not care for them all; the list will then
stand: Harper's Monthly, Harper's Weekly, True Flag & N.Y. Ledger.
The Magazine came yesterday, so that we have but one more copy
to receive.- Today is Washing day (Sta.) & we have no drilling, but
the soldiers devote their time to washing clothes, mending, ready
writing &c. Think I will proceed to heat some water, wash, change
my clothes, & then write to Eliza (Cady, Eliza) & Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) . My health is excellent.
Am enjoying myself pretty well, & contented to remain awhile longer
in the army. Love to all.