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, April 26, 1863
In Camp near Belle Plains, Va. (Virginia) (Belle Plains, Virginia)
April 26th 1863. Dear Mother,
I received your letter of the 19th & 20th insts,
last evening, and also one from Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) , dated the 23d.
It had been some time since I had heard from him,
and I wrote & sent him a letter yesterday. He asked
what he would need to buy, if he returned to the Reg.
instead of being discharged. He had just sent a
Med. Cert. for 10 days longer, and expected to be dis-
charged at the expiration of that time.
I think you have not mentioned receiving my
letter of the 10th inst. I last wrote you on the 20th,
enclosing a letter for the Citizen, which I hope you have
received. The list of those to whom I wished copies to be
sent, was pretty large, but with the money I had pre-
viously sent Mr. Sandford (Sandford (Mr.)) , the .50 cts, accompanying the
letter, will be sufficient to pay for them. You see by
the heading of this letter, that we have not yet moved,
as expected.- The heavy rains that have fallen recently have
rendered a temporary postponement of the movement necess-
ary. It was very pleasant yesterday, and is today.
The ground is rapidly drying up, and the roads becoming
good again. Mrs. Hill (Hill (Mrs.)) has not yet ret'd
to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , but would have gone several days
ago, but for the inclemency of the weather. She will prob-
ably start tomorrow.
It is not likely that we shall be consolidated
with the 104th Reg. (104th Regiment) and we would prefer not to be now.
The long looked for Paymaster has
at last arrived, and has commenced paying off our
Reg., which of course pleases us very much.
We should not have been perfectly willing or
satisfied to have entered upon the impending campaign
without first receiving our pay, so as to be able to
settle up our pecuniary affairs.
None of our officers are absent on furlough
at present, as an application for leave of absence, made
a short time ago, by one of them, was returned
disapproved. Lt. Alexander (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) will not be likely to get
a furlough for awhile yet.
It seems to be the general opinion among officers
here, that we will remain here for some time yet.
Deserters from the rebel, are coming in by scores, through
our picket lines; and they report that they have been
on half rations for some time, and that the military au-
thorities were about to reduce their allowance still more.
They say we can starve out the rebel army more
effectually, and thus disorganize them more quickly, by remaining
where we are, than by attempting to cross the Rap-
pahannock (Rappahannock) (Rappahannock River) & give them battle.
They say that they would desert by regt's, if possible,
and come to this side of the river.- A negro said:
“They send their men out on picket, at night, and in
the morning, they cant find ‘em”.
It has also been reported that the rebels were intending
to evacuate Vicksburg (Vicksburg, Mississippi) , and mass their troops rapidly,
upon the Rappahannock (Rappahannock River) , hoping to overpower us here,
and march on to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) .
I am in hopes of seeing Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) in two or three
days, as there is no reason, that I know of, why he can't come
to the Reg. and make a short visit. Should he came,
we would have considerable money to send by him
to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) , as there is no Express Agent here.
We are all quite well here, and in fine spirits.
Maj. Northup (Northrup, Charles (Major)) was Court-Martialed a short time ago, for
alleged “Disobedience of orders”, while on picket, not long
ago, but he has come out of the investigation with
flying colors, and is restored to duty. He went out
again this morning, on a three days tour of Picket
Duty. My health, apparently was never better
than now: I am fleshy, and rugged.
We have many means of passing time pleas-
antly, even in rainy weather, never lacking for
interesting and instructive reading matter, and
when inclination prompts, playing “checkers”, twelve
men Morris”, “Fox and Geese”, “backgammon”,
“dominoes”, and “chess.”- Our tent especially,
which contains several officers, and entertains
numerous visitors, abounds in the foregoing
games. The men almost without exception
play cards , and many inveterately, even gamb-
ling to a considerable extent, though it is strictly
prohibited by Col. Wheelock (Wheelock, Charles (Colonel)) ; but this prohibition is
of little avail, beyond making them more careful
not to get caught at it. A good many offi-
cers play for money; even Gen. Robinson (Robinson, John Cleveland (General)) , our
Div. Gen. is known to be addicted to drinking and
gaming. When such examples are set by those
high in rank and authority, what can be expected
of their inferiors?
I wrote you that I had found my shirt, and that all
my clothing was in good condition.
I dont like to have you give yourself any uneasiness
on my account; dont anticipate evils and misfor-
tunes that may never arise, knowing that it will
do no good, but on the contrary causes yourself
unhappiness. I have been much interested in the
accounts of the religious interest awakened in Rome (Rome, New York) ,
and other places, and am glad that so many have been
converted.- Without particularizing, give my kindest
regards to all the good friends, and my best love to the folks
at home, and a small hug & kiss to each of the children.