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 Guilford Station, Fairfax County Virginia, June 22, 1863
Camp of the 97th Reg. N.Y.V. (97th Regiment, New York)
near Guilford Station, Fairfax Co. Va. (Virginia) (Guilford Station, Fairfax County, Virginia) (Fairfax County, Virginia)
June 22d 1863. Dear Mother,
I was very glad to re-
ceive a letter from you, & one from Fa-
ther, last night,- the only mail received
since the 13th inst. I have written no let-
ters since about the 10th. Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) wrote
you two or three days ago I believe, but I
will give you a brief summary of our
travels since leaving our “camp near Fitz-
hugh Mansion (Fitzhugh Mansion, Virginia) , on the 12tj. I had been
somewhat unwell for several days previous-
ly, not having dared to eat much more than
toasted bread, or other light food, & therefore
was not in very good trim for marching,
but I got along much better than I expected,
though unable to keep up with the Reg. till
night, as my feet became badly blistered.
The weather was excessively hot, & good water
which is of such vital necessity to the soldier,
was scarce. We passed by Stonemans Station (Stoneman's Station, near Falmouth, Virginia) ,
on the Acquia Creek (Aquia Creek, Virginia) R.R. by Hartwood Church (Hartwood Church, Virginia) ,
Grove Church (Grove Church, Virginia) & beyond,- making
about 22 miles, a long days march, es-
pecially for the first one. Hundreds were
obliged to fall out, on acct of fatigue & ex-
haustion; having gone about 20 miles,
I stopped for the night, starting early next
morning & rejoining the Reg. by 7 oc.- an
hour or two before they took up the line of
march for the day.- Again very warm,-
marching more difficult than the day be-
fore. I was obliged to ride about a mile
in an ambulance. Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) rode about
all the time. The column marched about
13 miles, & passing by Bealton Station (Bealton Station, Virginia) , our
Div. bivouacked in a wood by the R.R. half
a mile west of B. (Bealton Station) (Bealton Station, Virginia) - Starting from the am-
bulance train (as it was parked about 2 mi.
back) Lt. Col. Spofford (Spofford (Lieutenant Colonel)) , Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) & I commenced
to walk to the Reg. but a shower came up
suddenly, & we stopped at an old de-
serted shanty near the R.R. Finding plenty
of clean hay close by, where there had been
a cavalry camp, we concluded to remain
there over night, as we were secure of
a shelter from the rain & a bed of hay,-
the latter of luxury not to be enjoyed in camp.
Some condensed milk, coffee & sugar sup-
plied an excellent addition to our evening meal.
After a refreshing night's rest, we partook of our
coffee & crackers & started early for the Reg.
which was close at hand.
The 2d (2nd Corps) & 3d A. Corps (3rd A. Corps) lay near us at Bealton (Bealton Station, Virginia)
& the 5th Corps (5th Corps) was extended along the Riv.
Below, towards Falmouth (Falmouth, Virginia) . The 6th Corps (6th Corps)
remained below Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Virginia) (where one
Div. had crossed & thrown up intrenchments) &
a day or two afterwards we heard that they had
gone to Acquia Creek (Aquia Creek, Virginia) , & thence by transports
to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) - proceeding to regain the re-
mainder of the Army of the Potomac (Army of the Potomac).
At Bealton we were within half a mile or
less of our old camp of Nov. last. It was
the third time I had come to Bealton (Bealton Station, Virginia) , each
time from diff't directions. The first time
was in Aug. last, on the retreat from
the Rapidan (Rapidan River) , when I was taken to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia)
– sick; the second time, in Nov.- on
the march from Md. (Maryland)- & this was the third.
Our Div. was in rear of the whole
column, upon the march of Sun. 14th inst.
& of course we did not get well under
way before 10 o'c. A.M.- I picked a few wild
flowers near Bealton (Bealton Station, Virginia) , which I pressed in my
pocket diary, & now I enclose some of them
in my letter.
We passed through Warrenton Junction (Warrenton Junction, Virginia)
a branch R.R. turns off to Warrenton (Warrenton, Virginia) – distant
about 10 miles) where I had been several times
on picket. It had undergone some change,
since I was last there – in July '62, when
I made a hasty sketch of it. By the way
it was there that I first saw & shook hands
with Gen. Bayard (Bayard, George Dashiell (General)) (July 5.),- the gallant young Cavalry
officer, who met an untimely death at the battle of
Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Virginia) in Dec. last.
We marched quickly through Catlett's StationCatlett's Station, Virginia,
without stopping, so that I had
only time to glance around. It took
us some time to cross the R.R. bridge over
Cedar Run, just west of Catletts (Catlett, Virginia) , as it was
very long & high. Many were obliged to go
around, on acc't of dizziness. The resi-
dence of Dr. Shumate (Shumate (Dr.)) (near Catletts (Catlett, Virginia) , a very
fine place, where our officers had visited last
summer) a wealthy Secesh, was deser-
ted, as the Dr. had been compelled to go
beyond our lines, and it was now used
as Headquarters by Gen. Pleasanton (Pleasonton, Alfred (General)) .
We marched till dark before halting to get
supper, passing Bristol (Bristol Station, Virginia) – on the R.R. & crossing
Kettle Run (Kettle Run, Virginia) , by the side of which our whole
Corps lay for two hours – covering but a
few acres of ground; the night was dark, but
our vicinity was magnificently lighted up
with hundreds of camp fires. Such a
wondrous spectacle, with the accompa-
niments of laughter & hilarity & the mur-
mur of a sea of sounds, from thousands
of human throats, constitutes an illumined
& ineffaceable page in the book of memory.
Thus having rested awhile & eaten sup-
per – with the indispensable coffee, we re-
sumed our march, crossing Broad Run (Broad Run, Virginia) ,
passing Manassas Junction (Manassas Junction, Virginia) , & halting
near Manassas (Manassas, Virginia) for the night, at
about 4 o'c. in the morning. It had been
a very severe march, & many had fallen
out. The distance from Bealton (Bealton Station, Virginia) was about
22 miles, as we marched, but we were
much delayed in some places.
We started about 9 A.M. on Monday,
passing by several forts – at Manassas (Manassas, Virginia) .
At 12 M. we crossed the noted Bull Run (Bull Run, Virginia) ,
near the memorable battle grounds of '61,
& '62. Here we halted upon the banks of this
famous stream, for nearly two hours,
& took dinner. With hundreds of others
I took a refreshing bath in its clear waters,
a luxury which the fatigued & footsore
soldier well knows how to appreciate.
A little further on we formed “line
of battle, apparently in expectation of
an attack by the enemy. At the end of
an 8 mile march, which was never-
theless a hard one & quite sufficient to sat-
isfy us, we halted near Centreville (Centreville, Virginia) ,
early in the afternoon, not knowing
whether we were to remain there over night
or proceed further, but we did remain
that night & the next – till Wednesday, having
a good respite which we needed, to recruit
our exhausted energies. We had marched
as follows -: Thurs. 22 mi. Frid. 13 mi. Sat.
22 mi. Sund. 8 mi. – 65 miles in 4 days,
in hot weather – with heavy loads.
We found the 11th Corps
at Centreville (Centreville, Virginia) – hardly a mile from where
we lay.- The 2d (2nd Corps) 3d (3rd Corps) & 5th Corps (5th Corps) were also
somewhere near us.
While here at Centreville (Centreville, Virginia)
, the wagons were
close by us, so that we had all our blan-
kets & baggage, & fared well in our mess.
A fire stream near by was convenient
for bathing & washing. On Monday – 16th the
Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) Daily Chronicle gave us the first
startling intelligence of the invasion of Pa. (Pennsylvania) (Pennsylvania)
by the rebs, & the excitement occasioned thereby;
we expected to follow up immediately to Ma. (Massachusetts) (Massachusetts) &
Pa. (Pennsylvania) (Pennsylvania) - We had been ordered to pack up & be ready
to march at daylight on Wed. but as is gen-
erally the case, we had plenty of time to get
our breakfasts & pack up as there seemed to
be no hurry about starting. We would pre-
fer to march earlier in the day, when it is
cool, & rest in the middle of the day when it
is hot, but the genls. must have their
breakfasts at their leisure.
We passed by Centreville (Centreville, Virginia)
– which is
quite a village, the buildings of which –
made of stone, have a venerable & ancient
appearance. There were quite a number
of Fortifications - & breastworks in the vicin-
ity, & a body of troops – a Brigade I should
think, were in camp there. From Centreville (Centreville, Virginia)
we took the direction of Drainesville (Dranesville, Virginia) – many
supposing we were to go to Edwards Ferry (Edwards Ferry, Maryland) .
But we halted within a couple of miles of Guilford Station (Guilford Station, Fairfax County, Virginia)
(near Herndon Sta. (Herndon Station, Virginia) ) on the Susburg & Alexandria
R.R. (Susburg and Alexandria Railroad) bivouacking within a short distance
of the R.R. in a wood. We had come about
15 miles (about 12 before noon); it was a ter-
rible march, the weather being insufferably
Hat (Hot) & the roads very dusty. Some dropped
down dead & some were sun struck; while
all sufferred more or less from Exhaus-
tion & fatigue.- Here again we staid two nights
hourly expecting to resume the march, & twice
packing up. A fine stream ran within a few
yards of where we lay, & good springs were con-
venient. A nice rain fell on Wed. night
which was very refreshing. The country about
here was very fine – apparently fertile.
On Friday morning early we started
again, but having come about two miles,
to Guilford Station (Guilford Station, Fairfax County, Virginia) , I saw some soldiers
belonging to the 3d Div. 1st Corps (3rd Division, 1st Corps) - & as
they had not moved – concluded we
were going but a short distance, & so it
has proved. We are two miles from Guilford Station (Guilford Station, Fairfax County, Virginia) ,
8 from Leesburg (Leesburg, Virginia) , on Broad Run (Broad Run, Virginia) .- All is well – everything quite
now. The mail closes & I will
write again tomorrow.