Letter written by Rush P. Cady, lieutenant in the 97th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his father of Rome, New York, from Headquarters 97th Reg. N.Y.V. near Falmouth, Virginia, December 17, 1862

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Letter written by Rush P. Cady, lieutenant in the 97th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his father of Rome, New York, from Headquarters 97th Reg. N.Y.V. near Falmouth, Virginia, December 17, 1862

PAGE IMAGEHeadquarters 97th Reg. N.Y.V. (97th Regiment, New York)
Near Falmouth, Va. (Virginia) (Falmouth, Virginia)   Dec. 17. '62. Dear Father,

I have just rec'd your letter tonight, & was
exceedingly glad to hear again so soon from home.- Three has
been no mail going out for several days, so that I have been
unable to send letters that I have written, - one of them a week
ago today. I gave them this morning to our Sutler Mr. Com- stock (Comstock (Mr.)) , who came from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) today, in company with two offi-
cers of the Reg. who had been about since the battle of Bull Run (Bull Run, Virginia) Battle of Bull Run (Virginia).
He brought my valise, in which such articles as I wished & sent
for, had been packed by Mrs. Mendenhall (Mendenhall (Mrs.)) , who also put in a small
bag of dried plums & some bologna sausage. She has before sent
a package to us, containing dried fruits &c, & has been very kind.
She also wrote an excellent letter to me, in answer to mine re-
questing her to pack certian articles in my valise & send it by
Mr. Comstock (Comstock (Mr.)) . She spoke of having received a letter from Mother (Cady, Daniel (Mrs., Fidelia W. Palmer)) .
Tonights mail also brought a package of papers, & a letter for Gus-
tavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. ( Captain)) (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) . Have been so busy lately as to find it impossible to
read much. The same night that I wrote the letter in pen-
cil, to you (Monday), just after our camp had become quiet,
the men having lain down to sleep, orders came, to pack up
quietly & be ready to move at a moments notice. We did so; & in


PAGE IMAGE a few minutes were on the march. We thought perhaps it was
a general move of the Left, to recross the river, for the
purpose of making a flank movement. The first part of our
surmise was correct; but we did not then know that our
whole army had suffered a most disastrous repulse, & was
all at the same time falling back to this side of the river.
We recrossed at the same place where we went over,
which was perhaps a mile & a half from where we had lain
supporting the battery. We then marched about a mile further
up the river, & bivouacked on the flat. Alexander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant))
& I slept together, each of us having a rubber & a woolen blanket.
It was the fifth night that we had been without tents. Soon
after midnight it commenced raining hard; & the water run un-
der us so that we were obliged to get up & walk around till
morning. We started early, & came about two miles, over
roads that had already become terribly muddy, encamping
at this place, with our whole Division. The wagons being
near by, we got out tents & baggage, & again began to feel
comfortable.- That morning we learned the result of
Saturday's battle. It had been attempted to force the enemy's
position all along the line, & only the Left had gained
any praise, although we too had failed in our attempt.
The Right & Centre Grand Divisions had both suffer-
ed terribly, having charged repeatedly the enemy's in-
trenchments, & being as many times repulsed with heavy
PAGE IMAGE lass. The rebels fought behind their breastworks & for-
tifications, showing themselves as little as possible, thus
sustaining comparatively slight losses. There is no doubt
but that this has been the greatest battle of the war,
as regards our loss in killed, wounded & missing, which,
although not so published, is estimated certianly as
high as 16.000. The loss in our Division is between 8
& 900 killed & wounded. In the Gibbons Hospital (Gibbons Hospital) , where
Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) is, there are 1100 men wounded & sick, all
of our Div. The 14th on the Right, is said to have lost
heavily. The 144th only 2 men. Gen. Meagher (Meagher, Thomas Francis (General)) 's Brigade (General Meager's Brigade)
(Irish) went into the fight with 1700 men & came out
with only 400, being almost completely annihilated. It is
said that they charged on some breastwork, three times, &
had fairly got their hands on them, but were thus mowed
down like grass.- The brave & efficient Gen. Bayard (Bayard, George Dashiell (General)) ,
(of Cavalry fame) the youngest Brig. Gen. in the army, was
struck by a solid shot in the thigh, while in the vi-
cinity of a Hospital a short distance in the rear of the battle
field, & died in a short time. I had seen him frequently,
had conversed & shaken hands with him. He was pres-
ent at the burning of the Rap.  Bridge (Rappahannock Bridge) awhile ago. He was idol-
ized by the army, & his loss will be severely felt.

A Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) paper, giving an account of the battle, ad-
mits a rebel loss of 500 killed & 2500 wounded.


PAGE IMAGE We took some hundreds of prisoners. It is said
that Sigel (Sigel) has gone to Thoroughfare Gap (Thoroughfare Gap, Prince William County, Viginia) , with 50,000
men, to get in the rear of the rebels. Different opin-
ions prevail among military men, as to whether another
attempt will be made to go through to Richmond (Richmond, Virginia)
this winter. Some think we will now go into winter
quarters. A good many troops have returned to their
late camps along the R.R. between here & Aquia Creek (Aquia Creek, Northern Virginia) .
It is confidently expected that we go back to an old camp to-
morrow. The 14th has gone, & the 6th Army Corps (6th Army Corps) .
I understand that Gen. Lee (Lee, Robert E. (General)) would not allow us on the Right
& centre to get our killed & wounded off the field, but
nearly all the wounded were left, except such as could get
off themselves. Today there have been sent over men to
bury our dead.- Lee (Lee, Robert E. (General)) would grant Burnside (Burnside, Ambrose Everett (General)) but 6 hours
to get across the river. Such was the haste, that a good
many of our men must have been left behind & taken pris-
oners, especially at Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Virginia) .- I was “officer
of the Day” yesterday, & had charge of the Guard, & Camp,
which gave me some work to do, but towards night I
got a horse & went to see Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) , at the hospital, about
2 miles from here, as I had several letters from home, for him
to read, besides money & stamps for him, being of course very
desirous of seeing him before he left. He was in excellent spir-
its, & looked very well,- very glad indeed to hear from home & get
papers. Said it was a pretty hard place to lie there, in a hospital tent, so
much groaning around him. One man, in the same tent (of our Reg.) had
died that morning. Another had had his knee pan taken out & was suffer-
ing very much.; while others might have limbs amputated. There were
scores of large hospital tents there, covering quite a large space of ground,
accommodating, as I have said, 1100 sick & wounded.

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