Letter written by Rush P. Cady, lieutenant in the 97th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his brother Gustavus, of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from Camp of the 97th Reg. N.Y.V. near Belle Plains, Virginia, March 27, 1863
D.C. (District of Columbia)
JUL 27 1863
Camp of the 97th Reg. N.Y.V. (97th Regiment, New York)
near Belle Plains, Va. (Virginia) (Belle Plains, Virginia)
March 27th 1863. Dear Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) ,
Father told me, in his letter, that you had rec'd
my letter & would answer it immediately, so that I looked for it by
the next mail, but it did not come. The next morning, Tuesday,
Bill Evans (Evans, Bill) found some perhaps of your letter to me, having the date –
19th & your signature. I was of course much surprised. Evans (Evans, Bill) &
I went up the road towards Brigade Headqrs, to the place where
he had found these scraps, & looking around we found scraps
of a good many letters & envelopes that had been torn up, quite
a no. bearing date or stamped the 20th, having come the night
before. Thus the mystery of the irregularity of our mails, was
all at at once solved. They had been systematically rifled by
John Daly (Daly, John) , one of the Col's (Colonel's) waiters, going by the name “Beauregard” (Beauregard) ,
who had carried the mail to & from Brigade Hdqrs. for
some time.- As soon as it became known, it created great ex-
citement in the Reg. all having last (lost) letters, & a great many having,
lost money & postage stamps. The ground was thoroughly
searched over, & scraps of letters written both to & from the
Reg. were found in great abundance all along a side hill
back of the camp between here & Brigade H'dqrs. Proving that this
Robbery had been going on at least ever since we were paid
off in Jan. You can imagine what a storm of indignation
was aroused by this disclosure. I succeeded with the
help of others, in finding nearly all the pieces of yours & Mothers
letters of the 19th inst. So that by piecing them together I could
make out most of the contents. Another letter envelope di-
rected to me, from Philad'a (Philadelphia) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) & stamped the 20th inst. & having
on it three postage stamps, was also found by the roadside.
I haven't the remotest idea of what it contained, or who it was
from. I also found a fragment of a letter
written to you soon after Pay Day, in which I requested
that an Express Package be sent me, with certian (certain) articles, &
also giving you a good deal of news. Lieut. Alexander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) 's
letter to his wife, written at the same time, telling her to give
Father $25 contained in her package, & inclosing one
doll. To pay Exp. Charges, of course shared the same fate.
Thus also with my letter of the 9th Feb. for the Citizen, prepared with
so much pains & care. But the past cannot be recalled.
The Col. (Colonel) Sent Beauregard (Beauregard) back to his Co. but I think he will
not be suffered to go unpunished, as such a crime demands
a severe penalty.
The arrangements for a consolidation of the 97th & 104th Reg.ts (97th Regiment, New York) (104th Regiment, New York)
together, are already perfected. The necessary papers were
signed by the officers of the 104th yesterday, & by ours last
evening. The memorial, stating reasons for requesting the
Consolidation, & the terms agreed upon, with the lists of names
of such officers as are to be retained, & those to be mustered
out.We have our Col. Adj. Quarter Master, Chaplain, one ass't
Surgeon (Dr. Little (Little (Dr.)) ) Sutler, & Q.M. Serg. The 104th (104th Regiment, New York) have Lt. Col., Maj.
Act'g Q.M. (as Rowan (Rowan) is at present detached) Serg. Maj. Surg. Asst. Surgeon,
Hosp. Steward & Com. Serg. Each Reg. fifteen line officers.
I exerted all my influence to have you and myself mustered
out, well knowing that it was the wish of Father Mother, Grand
mother, Eliza (Cady, Eliza) & others, although it would have been with the ob-
ject, on my part, of going into some new Reg. speedily, but
the Col. would not consent. I told him that you would not
probably be able to return in a good while, & that it was my
wish to be mustered out at the same time with you, but he
said he could not spare me.
The officers to be mustered out are as follows, viz: Lt. Col.
S. (Spofford (Lieutenant Colonel)) Maj.
N. (Northrup, Charles (Major)) Capt.
Jillson (Jillson (Captain)) ,
Lieut. Sawyer (Sawyer (Lieutenant)) (as he returned yesterday, after being
absent several months without leave), Capt. A. D. Parsons (Parsons, A.D.) , Lieut. Adelbert
Jones (Jones, Adelbert (Lieutenant)) , Capt. Wood (Wood (Captain)) , Lieut. Watters (Watters (Lieutenant)) , Lieut. Harrington (Harrington, E.G. (Lieutenant)) , Lieut. Rockwell (Rockwell (Lieutenant)) ,
Lieut. Brennan (Brennan (Lieutenant)) , Lieut. H. A. Way (Way, H.A.) , & Lieut. Alexander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) . You will
know who are to remain of course. There has been con-
siderable talk & figuring as to what Co.s will go together, so as
to make the officers all right, & the Co.s of about an average
no. & give the best satisfaction to all concerned. I cannot, of course
tell you how the most of them are going, as this matter has not
yet been definitely arranged. But what you will be most
4 interested to know, is that Co.s C & K (Company C) (Company K) are agreed upon a
consolidation together, which would be more to my liking,
& I think yours too, than any other plan; as their Co. is exceedingly
well drilled & orderly, has an excellent 1st Serg. & numbers
48 men, which would make an aggregate of 80 enlisted
men.- Co. C. (Company C) desires strongly to remain the Color Company,
which they can only be by consolidating with us, as you will
be the 3d Captain, in the order of seniority, in the consolidated
Reg. Capt. Eggleston (Eggleston (Captain)) being 1st, & Capt. Gault (Gault (Captain)) , 2d- Lieut. Murphy (Murphy (Lieutenant))
is retained, but being still pretty lame, & unable to march
to much distance, will probably soon be discharged. Lieut. Hall (Hall (Lieutenant))
would then be the only 1st Lieut. senior to me. If you
get your discharge, I would doubtless be promoted to the Captain-
cy. I will not pretend not to indulge ambitious motives
in that direction, which are laudable enough, provided I
am deserving of that honor, through faithful performance
of duty. But you will not think that I would be dis-
appointed at your return to the Reg. because I should be very
glad indeed, as would all the officers, if you are able
to return. But it is hardly expected that you will come back,
at least for some time; and I am sure that if I were in
your place, with your present advantages for obtaining per-
haps a higher position in some of the many new Regts to be
raised, provided you wish to remain in the service, I should
not return to the 97th (97th Regiment, New York). But you will know best about that.
I should have got mustered out myself, if it had been pos-
sible, as I was quite anxious to, but since the “die is cast”,
I shall endeavor to rest content. Three or four days ago
Aleck (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) & I were turned out of doors, as well as several
other officers, as we were obliged to turn over our wall
tents. Maj. Northup (Northrup, Charles (Major)) “had compassion on us” & immediately
invited us in, with him, Chaplain & leapt Eggleston (Eggleston) , & here
we are. We were to be reviewed this
morning by Gen. Hooker (Hooker, Joseph (General)) , but all the Regts having turned
out in their best manner & shiniest polish, we were in-
formed that the Review was postponed till tomorrow. This
afternoon we had Brigade Drill, by Col. Leonard (Leonard (Colonel)) . On
Tuesday & Wednesday aft's we also had Brigade Drill & all
were highly pleased with the military proficiency of Col. Leonard (Leonard (Colonel)) ,
who skillfully “put us through” a variety of
fine evolutions, some apparently new to us & many familiar
ones. Since the absence of Adj. Smith (Smith (Adjutant))
I have been Acting as field Adjt, on Drills, Reviews, Dress Pa-
rades &c, while Lieut. Morrin (Morrin (Lieutenant)) does the office work, with
which he is familiar. This is a convenient arrangement,
as we both have Co's to take charge of.
Rec'd notice day before yesterday, of Ev.
Briggs (Briggs, Ev.) discharge
on the 20th inst. Hawkins (Hawkins) returned from Carner Hospital
yesterday, & is quite well. I think I informed you of Edwin Cady (Cady, Edwin) 's re-
turn a short time since. Did Pratt (Pratt) come to Rome (Rome, New York) ?
and was his money sent to Father? I took considerable
pains to get him off right, in charge of Mrs. Hill (Hill (Mrs.)) , & to have
his pay drawn &c. & directed his bro. to meet him at Rome (Rome, New York)
get his money &c.
I informed you that Stephens (Stephens) had deserted. He was arrested
near our camp, on Tuesday aft. Having on a Cavalry uniform,
& being on horseback, & was placed in confinement.
Charges were made out against him, 1st for “Conduct prej-
udicial to good order & military discipline”. (Being found
while on outpost of Picket, as a Sentinel, with his accoutre-
ments off, his gun lying several feet from him, & lying down
reading.) 2d “Disobedience of orders.” 3d “Disrespect tow-
ards his superior officer”. 4th Desertion. It is not worth
while to give the specifications.- A corp. & three men were
detailed to guard him. This morning, about 7 o'c. he pre-
tended that he wanted to go out for a few moments, in
great haste, being without a coat, & in his stocking-feet.
As soon as he got a short distance, he started & ran
like a deer, & so escaped; but about 10 o'c he was bro't
back from his old Reg. (1st Independent Cavalry, District Columbia (District of Columbia) (District of Columbia)
Vol's (1st Independent Cavalry, District of Columbia )) by a guard of two Cavalrymen, & is now in Custody
again. His punishment must necessarily be a severe one.
I preferred the charges against him, 7 will give you an
account of the Court Martial in his case, in due time.
Lt. Col. Spofford (Spofford (Lieutenant Colonel)) is still absent; just forwarded Med. Cert.
from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , rheumatism &c.- Col. Coulter (Coutler (Colonel)) , of
the 11th Pa. (11th Regiment, Pennsylvania) who was absent wounded, has just returned.
It rained quite hard all Tuesday night,
but has since been pleasant; the ground being in good
condition. If, as is expected, an order from
Gen. Hooker (Hooker, Joseph (General)) will be sufficient for the consolidation,
it will doubtless be effected in three or four days; other-
wise, if the order of the Sec. of War is necessary, it will of
course take longer. In that case Col. Root (Root (Colonel)) will go to
Washington himself & attend to the matter personally.
You say you will probably be in Washington (Washington, District of Columbia)
at the expiration of the 20 days extension granted by your
last Med. Cert. I would be right glad to meet you there,
& inexpressibly so to accompany you home.
When you do come to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia)
, don't fail
to come to the Reg. if you can possibly. I think it will not
be best to say anything about the consolidation, until it is
fully effected, as it is barely possible that it may fall
thro' yet, though I hardly can see how. The Maj. Would
not like to have the hopes & expectations of his wife raised,
& then dashed to the ground again.
I shall send some things to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia)
, by Lieut. Alexander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) ,
in case he goes, before we move, as our trans-
portation is to be considerably reduced. Shall send my sole
leather valise (as being to large & heavy for an active summer cam-
paign, & withal too valuable to lose) having written to Mr. Menden- hall (Mendenhall (Mr.)) to purchase a small black leather valise like Warren (Warren) 's &
send it by Mrs. Hill (Hill (Mrs.)) , or whoever may be first coming to the
Reg. Rec'd a letter from Eliza night before last, recounting her visit
home,- glad to know that she was well & still enjoying herself.
Warmest love to all the home folks. And remember me kindly to
Gus. Perry (Perry, Gus) , Louise S. Collins (Collins, Louise S.) , Smith (Smith) , Men. White (White, Men.) & Spencer (Spencer) , also Mr. & Mrs. Bel- amy (Bellamy (Mr.)) (Bellamy (Mrs.)) – Aunt Calista (Calista (Aunt)) in particular, & all the other good folks.