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 Belle Plains, Virginia, March 22, 1863
Camp of the 97th Reg. N.Y.V. (97th Regiment, New York)
near Belle Plains (Belle Plain), Va. (Virginia) (Belle Plains, Virginia)
Sunday March 22d 1863. Dear Mother,
Your letter, with Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) ' & Grandmother's, came
last eve'g (evening), & altogether they constituted a rich treat, which the
“poor old soldier” can well appreciate. I have just been
writing a long letter to Eliza (Cady, Eliza) , giving her an account of my
recent visit to the 14th (14th Regiment) 50th (50th Regiment) 146th (146th Regiment) & 157th Regts (157th Regiment). I started at about
9 A.M. Tuesday, having secured an excellent horse, of Dr. Little (Little (Dr.)) .
It was quite cool, & the ground frozen, till towards noon, when
it began to thaw, & became muddy. It was about 7 miles to the
camp of the 14th (14th Regiment), & the route I took seemed a circuitous one, as I did not know
the way exactly, & there were so many roads intersecting together,
over the whole country, that I would sometimes take the wrong
one. Passed Stoneman's Station, on the Acquia Creek (Acquia Creek, Maryland) R.R. arriving
at the 14th (14th Regiment) some time before noon, & taking dinner with Capt. Stryker (Stryker (Captain)) ,
Lieut's Bower (Bower (Lieutenant)) & Duffy (Duff (Lieutenant)) . Saw Fred. Matteson (Matteson, Frederick (Orderly Sergeant)) , who is an Or-
derly (Orderly) Serg't; he was unwell, & had not done much duty lately.
Also saw Al. Bell (Bell, Al.) , & others whom I knew, in the same Co.
It being “St Patrick's Day”, the 9th Mass. Reg. (9th Regiment, Massachusetts) encamped
next to the 14th (14th Regiment)- commemorated it with appropriate sports.
In the first place, the officers temporarily relinquished the
command, which they resumed at 6 o'c P.M. The men appt'd
their own officers for the Day, mostly distinguished for their
ridiculous appearance, & made still more so by their huge
paper shoulder straps, & other insignia of office.
Their accession to power & authority was inaugurated by appointing
the Col.- “Corp of the Police Guard”, & under his supervision the
officers “policed” the camp before breakfast. During the
morning they had a mock Parade & Review, & Battalion Drill;
a “Steeple chase”; horse races, & foot races; & climbing a
greased pole. A furlough was the appropriate reward of
the winner in any one of these contests. In the afternoon
they had a Bag Race, & catching a Greased Pig, with more
horse races.- The entertainment was a rich one, full of
ludicrous & side splitting episodes. But towards night a
most unfortunate accident occurred to mar the enjoyment
of the occasion.- The Surgeon & Quartermaster happened
to be riding at full speed, in opposite directions, & the road
being so blocked up that neither could turn out to avoid
the other, their horses had struck square together, with
a loud crack; both horses being instantly killed, &
their riders thrown headlong upon the ground, & serious-
Next I went to the 146th Reg. (146th Regiment) about a mile beyond. Here
of course. I found a good many friends & acquain-
tances. Capt's Curran (Curran, H.H. (Captain)) , Durkee (Durkee, Joseph H. (Captain)) , Jenkins (Jenkins (Captain)) , & Powell (Powell (Captain))
& Lieut. Dutton (Dutton (Lieutenant)) , were all ham. Coll. students, & I was of course
glad to meet them.- Capt. Jewell (Jewell (Captain)) had just returned from a
pleasant visit to Rome. He is called one of their finest of-
ficers. Eugene Matteson (Matteson, Eugene (Lieutenant) is promoted to 1st Lt., with the promise
of a Captaincy, in case Jesse Armstrong (Armstrong, Jesse) does not return,
as it was thought he would no. Eugene (Eugene) was quite anx-
ious, in regard to the health of his wife, having been in-
formed that she was failing – with consumption, one
lung being entirely gone. He was about to get a fur-
lough, to go home & see her.
Roberts (Roberts, Will) is a private, & “will always
remain one”, Eugene (Eugene) says, who speaks quite se-
verely of him.- He was Sec. to Col. Garrard (Garrard, Kenner (Colonel)) , but on acc't
of neglect & inattention to his duties, was put back into the
ranks.- Thus the young fellows who have entered the Army
are being tested, & they are showing “what kind of stuff
they are made of”. Billy Walker (Walker, William (Lieutenant)) , son of the Taylor,
is now 2d Lieut. having been promoted from a Corp.
From the 146th (146th Regiment) I went to the 50th (50th Regiment), about a mile
distant.- Capt. Folley (Folley (Captain)) , Lieut. Carrall (Carrall (Lieutenant)) , Maj. Brainard (Brainard (Major)) ,
& all the rest were in excellent health. Saw Bascomb (Bascomb) ,
Eddy (Eddy) , Frank Wright (Wright, Francis) , Horace Crosley (Crosley, Horace) , Heaton (Heaton) , Al. Rath- burn (Rathburn, Al.) , Nobles (Nobles) , Snyder (Snyder) , Roberts (Roberts) & others. Visited most with
Serg. Jackson (Jackson (Sergeant)) . He has a good position, & is well liked.
After supper he & I went over to the 146th (146th Regiment) & staid all night.