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 Headquarters 97th Reg. N.Y.V. Rappahannock Station, Virginia, November 17, 1862
Headquarters 97th Reg. N.Y.V. (97th Regiment, New York)
Rappahannock Station, Va. (Virginia) (Rappahannock Station, Virginia) Nov. 17th '62. Dear Mother,
I had not finished the letter I sent by Maj. Northrup (Northrup, Charles (Major))
yesterday afternoon. While writing it, the Reg. was called
out to listen to the reading of the Articles of War, & when I returned,
the Maj. (Northrup, Charles (Major)) Was on horseback, all ready to start, so that I had no time
to complete the letter. But I sent a full letter to Eliza (Cady, Eliza) . Also wrote
to Mr. Abbott (Abbott (Mr.)) , at Rome (Rome, New York) , requesting him to send, for three months, to
the address of Capt. Palmer (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) . The Harper's Monthly, Harper's Weekly, Frank Leslie (Leslie, Frank) 's
Illustrated, N.Y. Ledger, Flag of our Union & Weekly Novellette.
He, Lieut. Carpenter (Carpenter (Lieutenant)) & I, are to pay for them. Thus we expect to have
plenty of good reading matter, for the lack of which, camp life is
sometimes very dull. And even when on a march, we halt
frequently & are sometimes a good deal delayed, so that a good
paper or two, would be desirable, for whiling away the time.
I made a mistake in regard to the regt's composing
our Brigade. They are the 9th (9th Regiment, New York) & 97th N.Y. (97th Regiment, New York) the 11th (11th Regiment, Pennsylvania) & 88th Pa. (88th Regiment, Pennsylvania) & the
13th Mass. Regts. (13th Regiment, Massachusetts)- We like our new Brig. Commander, Gen. Taylor (Taylor, Nelson (General)) , very
much. Our Brigade is now the 3d instead of the 1st, 2d Division,
(as before) commanded by Gen. Gibbon (Gibbon, John (General)) , 1st Army Corps (1st Army Corps), commanded
by Gen. Reynolds (Reynolds, John Fulton (General)) (formerly Gen. Hooker (Hooker, Joseph (General)) ) Yesterday, while at din-
[Written in margin:]
I wish he
How we wo'd
some of those
in such abundance; we
have none at all now.
Our fare, a good deal of
the time is pretty dry.
Remember me to Mr.
Bellamy (Bellamy (Mr.)) & the rest – not
forgetting Gus Perry (Perry, Gus) , Louisa
Sturdevant (Sturdevant, Louise) , Collins (Collins) ,
Smith (Smith) &c. Also present
my compliments, & best
wishes to Mrs. G. H. Mat- tison (Mattison, G. H. (Mrs.)) . It is not ex-
pected that there will
be much fighting before
winter, but we cannot
tell.- A great many
reports have been in
circulation, in regard to the
rebels getting in our rear, taking Thor-
oughfare Gap &c. but they are not credited. You get all the news ahead of us. We get daily papers very
ner, we were ordered to get our men under arms immediately,
& be ready to march at a moments notice; but not to strike
tents, or pack up. The occasion of this order was afterwards
ascertained to be this: two or three squadrons of rebel cavalry
were seen across the Rappahannock (Rappahannock River) , & an attack upon the
bridge, was anticipated, in which contingency this Brigade
would have been ordered to support a battery, which commands
the approaches to the river & the bridge, from the other side.
But no demonstration was made. The rebels are supposed to be
in pretty large force upon the other side. Their pickits are plainly
visible – on the R.R. – half or three quarters of a mile from the bridge.
Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) , Chaplain
Ferguson (Ferguson (Chaplain)) , Capt.
Parsons (Parsons (Captain)) & I went out
there this morning, passing by the Station, which has been des-
troyed, & going to the bridge, which is very long & high – distant
from where we now are, about a mile. It was destroyed af-
ter we came across it on our retreat last summer, & after-
wards rebuilt by the rebels.- It was but a short distance
from the bridge, where our Reg. lay when I was sent back with
the sick to Bealton Station (Bealton Station, Virginia) . Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) painted out the different
positions in which our Reg. lay that day & the next, after I left,
& they were exposed to the shells of the enemy, at which time
some of our men were wounded.
We have just taken down our tents, & packed everything
into the wagons, as we are to march at 4 o'c. to Warrenton Junction (Warrenton, Virginia) ,
two miles this side of Catletts (Catlett, Virginia) , & perhaps 10 miles
from here. We may not get there tonight, but probably shall.
The men have three days rations in their haversacks, & as we
not see the wagons, (which go by a diff't road) for two ore three
days perhaps, we are prepared to bivouac, at night, without tents,
except the small shelter tents, which the men all carry.
It is believed that our advance is now at Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Virginia)
which is probably now our destination. The orders – rec'd
from Gen. Taylor (Taylor, Nelson (General)) , a few minutes ago, are very strict in regard
to straggling. The commandants of Co.s are to be provided with
slips of paper, on which are written “Sick”, & signed by the Com.
Men must have one of these permits, in order to fall out of the
ranks, when they can get written permission from the surg.
To ride in the ambulance.- Halts are to be made very 50
min. for 10 min. Capts march in rear of the Co.s, & file closers (
Sergts & Lieuts are to be held strictly accountable for any men
leaving the ranks without permission. At the end of a march
1st Sergts will call the rolls of their Co.s & reports the absentees
to the Capt., & the Commandant of the Reg. (who has the power of a Court
Martial, for the trial & punishment of offenders) will immediately try all
such.- Under such strict orders as these, which makes comman-
ders of Regts responsible for their observance by subordi-
nate officers, there will probably be as little straggling.- There
are few sick now, anyway, & the men can march first rate.
seldom now. There was fighting somewhere yesterday.- Such good letters as yours,
Mother, full of advice, counsel & exhortation, are a source of much encouragement & profit
to use, I am sure. It is commencing to rain, & I will close.
It rained some this forenoon, & is still lowery & cool, &
looks like more rain.- We will be ready to start in 10
min. but it is now only half past 3 o'c. We march at 4.
Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) has been rather unwell today, with pain in the
bowels, but no doubt will feel better soon, as he has taken
some medicine. He has a horse to ride, which is very for-
tunate.- This forenoon a good mail came, contain-
ing a letter from you, dated the 9th inst. I cannot tell you how
glad I was to get it. There was also a short letter from Father, en-
closing postage stamps;- also the citizen,
this week I expect to see my letter in it, which I sent the 13th
inst.- Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) rec'd a letter from Ian Warren (Warren, Ian) , at Vrana (Verona) (Verona, New York) .
He said he had just rode down town in a cutter, there being four
inches of snow. – We have had no snow here since a week
ago last Friday, when we marched to Warrenton (Warrenton, Virginia) , & no rain till
today.- An important Gen. Order has been received
today, from Gen. Burnside (Burnside, Ambrose Everett (General)) , which divides the army into
three grand Divisions, the first – on the right – commanded
by Sumner (Sumner) ;- the second – the center -; the third – composed
of the Army Corps of Reynolds (Reynolds, John Fulton (General)) (ours) & Hooker (Hooker, Joseph (General)) on the left, (formerly Porter (Porter, Fitz-John (General)) ) is to
be commanded by Gen. Franklin (Franklin, William Buel (General)) . A large reserve
is to be commanded by Gen. Sigel (Sigel, Franz (General)) . Not having seen the order,
I cannot designate the corps in each Division & their respective
commanders. Will give you particulars, in my next letter.
Gustavus (Palmer, Gustavus M. (Captain)) & I are both well provided with shirts, drawers, wrappers,
& socks. I rec'd a package this morning by mail carrier, from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) ,
containing a shirt & wrapper, & small book. Mrs. Mendenhall (Mendenhall (Mrs.)) , a young mar-
ried woman, at Mrs. BannermanBannerman (Mrs.)s, who has the keys of our trunk & my valise, sent
us also, two small bags of dried plums & peaches, which will be nice. Your Son Rush (Cady, Rush Palmer) .
Love to Father, grandmother & the children.
Would like to have Ella (Cady, Ella) write sometime, when you do.