Letter written by Rush P. Cady, lieutenant in the 97th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, from In bivouac near Rappahannock, 4.5 miles below Falmouth, on Virginia, May 1, 1863, to his mother, Mrs. Daniel Cady (Fidelia W. Palmer), of Rome, Ne
D.C. (District of Columbia)
(Washington, District of Columbia)
MAY 2 1862
In bivouac on Rappahannock (Rappahannock River) , 4 ½
miles below Falmouth, Va. (Virginia) (Falmouth, Virginia)
Friday morning, 7.50 o'c. May 1st 1863. Dear Mother (Cady, Daniel (Mrs., Fidelia W. Palmer)) (Palmer, Fidelia W. (Mrs. Daniel Cady)) :
I have just dispatched my first letter, un-
finished, and as I may have another opportunity to send one
during the day, I will now, transcribe the remainder of
my diary. “The 14th Brooklyn Reg. (14th Regiment, New York (Brooklyn)) was one of the first
to cross, and Col. Fawler (Fawler (Colonel)) , and other officers were killed.
There has not been much cannonading today. The am-
bulances crossing the Pontoon Bridges make a rattling noise
like distant musketry firing, so that it is frequently mistaken
for firing. There has been little fighting today, since our men
crossed. They are busy making the necessary dispositions
of the forces. A portion of the 6th Corps (6th Corps) & the 1st Div. of our Corps (1st Division)
are on the other side of the river, but the remaining two Divisions
are still upon this side, having arms stacked in lines of battle
by Regts. Upon the flat, within a short distance of the river.
From the road where we lay an have since, ours &
the rebel pickets were plainly visible, as also their batteries
upon high points just this side of the woods, which cover
the range of hills. And we can see, too, one of their lines
of breast work. The field looks formidable indeed,- doubly
so, on acc't of our former disastrous experience there. But
there is a cool determination evinced by the men, and a
settled conviction that we shall this time dislodge the reb-
els from their position and drive them before us. Few entertain
serious apprehensions of another disaster to our arms, but on
the contrary nearly all are confident that we shall
acheive a decisive victory. It grows late; the men are build-
ing fires, and pitching their tents, as there are signs of rain.
I must follow their example.
Thursday, Apr. 30. Our Pack mules did not come up
last night, so that a good many of the officers of our Reg.
had no shelter tents, but were obliged to get in with the men.
Our mules being “green”, & ugly, they kick off their loads,
and it is difficult to repack them. Aleck (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) & I had a rubber
blanket each, and with the exercise of some ingenuity, we tied
them together with strings, and with the help of muskets and
bayonets, we made a tent, a small one to be sure,- hardly
high enough in the centre to sit up in, and just wide enough for two to
lie comfortably. It began to rain awhile before dark, and con-
tinued through the night, and some time in the morning, though
not raining hard. Having been up since 3 A.M. Aleck (Alexander, George (Lieutenant)) & I
“retired” at 8.30 P.M. and slept well till morning, tho'
our bed was pretty hard, being nothing more than a poncho
spread upon the ground. We had a good breakfast this morn-
ing, consisting of coffee, “hard tack, bologna sausage, boiled
eggs & herring. It being the last day of the month, the troops
were “mustered for pay”, the officers making out lists of
those present. A short time ago I went down to the River
where the Pontoons are, and saw the 50th (50th Regiment) fellows, among
them, Serg. Jackson (Jackson (Sergeant)) , with whom I had some conversation.
He was very busy; at that time having charge of a lot of
men, preparing the approaches to one of the bridges.
He gave me an interesting account of the laying of the bridges, the ex-