To Scio from Harpers Ferry with Love: Alonzo Cady’s Civil War Letters to his sister, Jerusha Cady Howe

Letters transcribed by Madeline O. Scott and Skip Testut.

Originals on file with Scio Town Historian, email:

Introduction by E. W. "Skip" Testut, Ph.D.  Web resource developed by Stephen Sweet.

Rufus Alonzo Cady wrote many letters to his older sister, “Juty” (Jerusha Cady Howe), while he served in Company I of the New York 5th Volunteers, Heavy Artillery during the Civil War. Born on November 24, 1837 in Hunt (near Portage), NY, Livingston County, Rufus enlisted on December 21, 1863 in Scio. He received basic training and his assignment to Company I at Elmira, where he mustered into active duty on December 28, 1863. Basic training must have been very basic, indeed, for a month later, on January 29, 1864, and after having received a 7-day furlough home in early January, Alonzo arrived at Maryland Heights across the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry, Virginia to begin his tour of duty.

Alonzo and George Cady
 Rufus Alonzo Cady at a family gathering in the early part of the 20th century. Alonzo is standing in the front, just left of center wearing a dark suit and hat. Standing to his left wearing a dark vest over a white shirt is Alonzo’s older brother, George Cady.

It was in the Harpers Ferry theater that Alonzo would serve during the Civil War ending with his discharge from service on July 19, 1865, also at Harpers Ferry. He served as a private for most of his enlistment but was appointed corporal on June 24, 1865, a month before his discharge. Alonzo returned to Allegany County upon his discharge where his wife, Mary, and he raised a family and farmed until his death on July 13, 1912 from a stroke. Mary and he lie buried at Knights Creek Cemetery.

Rufus was a prolific writer, but, unfortunately, Alonzo’s letters to his sister, Juty, although just a portion of the letters he wrote, are all that seem to survive. Still, the letters to Juty provide insight into the thoughts of a Union soldier from Allegany County, hungry for the latest news not just of home, but nationally and internationally. They describe camp life, the roles and the duties of soldiers battling not just Confederate soldiers, but loneliness and homesickness while wanting to be back home, getting on with an interrupted life.  Alonzo’s letters tell of newspapers and magazines, whenever and wherever they could be found, comrades, prisoners, plans for after the war, a time and place largely lost except to historians of the era. They also tell of an individual with a clear sense of purpose and meaning in a confusing, trying time. There is little self-pity in Alonzo’s writing and it’s clear that he expects none from others (although a letter to Harpers Ferry would be appreciated, greatly). In short, he’s a man of his time and his letters reveal just what that meant. May you, the reader, enjoy and appreciate them as much as we, his descendants, have.







Rufus Alonzo Civil War Ltr. Dec. 29, 1863


Dear Brother & Sister Elmira

     I will write you a few lines tonight to let you know where I am.  Circumstances alter cases and so it is with me for I signed my name to some papers in Scio and here I am in the Barracks in Elmira in a full suit of Uncle Sam’s harness.  I am a soldier in the army and was mustered into the service yesterday and got twenty five dollars in green backs.  I like soldiering first rate only I am so far from home & friends but I have made my bed & I must lie in it. We have lots of fun and plenty to eat and drink all except whiskey and that I don’t want.  We have over 3000 men in this camp and not over 25 or 30 belongs to the same regiment.  There is not over a dozen that belongs to the regiment that I do and that is the 5th NY Heavy Art and they are stationed in Baltimore and Fortress Monroe.

    You must excuse me for not writing much this time for I have several letters to write tonight, and have not got much time to do it in  it is getting dark and I shall have to close so good night

Darling Brother & Sister.

     May  God bless & keep you in his holy care.  Kiss the Children for me and tell them Uncle Loney is a brave soldier in the army.

      Your loving Brother 

Alonzo Cady

Direct to


    Chemung Co. 

Barracks No. 3, NY


But don’t put any R or Rufus to my name




My Darling Sister Elmira Jan. 14, 64

     It is with great pleasure that I seat myself in my bunk to pen a few lines to you.  I am as well as ever I was & hope this letter will find you all enjoying good health.  I have been home on a furlough of seven days and are back again in camp.  I did want to see you so bad but I did not have time to come down but if I stay here till Spring I shall try and get another furlough and then look out for me for I am coming to see you if I can get there.  I did not get your letter till I came back to camp & then I had a good time reading for I had three letters to read.  You must keep a stiff upper lip for a year or two and then I am coming home to stay with my dear relations for if we don’t have the rebs licked by that time we may as well give up the ghost.  Dear Sister I will send you my picture but it is not a very good one but it is the best I could do here in camp.  I could not get a photograph here in camp and I could not get a pass to go down town so you will have to put up with a plate.  Keep it until I come back.  I would like to have your Sweet picture to look at but it will not do to send it now for I don’t know how long I shall stay here but when I get where I am to stay a spell if you will please send it to me I shall be very grateful & I know you will oblige your Soldier brother.  You will see by looking at my face that I am careless as ever. 

Dear Brother Hod  I don’t think you had better enlist because I think we won’t need many more men then we have got but you had better stay at home and take good care of my darling Sister and I know if you stay home you will take the best kind of care of her as you have ever done.  I don’t think there will be any doubt about your getting into the Regt. with me as I do not think it is full but stay at home like a good boy & let me do the fighting.  I want to see you all very much & if it is possible for me to get another furlough I shall come and see you.  You must both write to me as often as you can & I will do so too.  You must excuse me if I don’t fill up this sheet for there is so much confusion I can scarcely write at all.  Give my love to all that inquire after me but save the larger share for yourselves.  So Adieu for this time my Dear Brother & Sister.  I remain your sincere Loving & Affectionate Brother.

Alonzo Cady

Barracks No 3



Rufus Alonzo Cady Civil War Letter February 27.1864


My Darling and Only Sister

     It was with conflicting emotions I perused your letter with joy to receive it 

but O my Dear One I cannot bear to think that perhaps before I can get to see you , you

may be numbered among our darling ones that have gone to that happy world from whence no traveler ever returns.  It cannot it must not be that I can never behold you again, never hear that winning voice, never feel the clasp of those loving arms around me, never press my lips to yours, never behold the love light beaming from those mild blue eyes.  Oh no my sister

the good God above will spare us to meet once more on the shores of time & if not I pray we may meet where parting shall be no more but keep up good spirits my Sister this war will be over sometime and then what a happy meeting that will be all over the United States.


Feb. 29th  Dear Sister I commenced this letter Saturday but I had to go on guard Sunday about a mile from the fort at what we call the naval Battery and today we have had a general inspection and mustered for pay so you see my time has been pretty well occupied till this evening and

now I will try and finish it.  I am very well except most awful sleepy for I did not get much sleep last night.  I am glad to hear that your town has filled up their quota so that Hod will be in no

fear of the draft.

     You tell me not to feel bad, but can I help it.  Dear Sister can I help feeling very bad to think that I was so far away from you and perhaps never see you No no  Sister do not tell me to read & forget that I have one sister in the spirit land and another is slowly  fading away perhaps with the same dire disease but I will not write any more of this.  You want Molly and the children to come down and make you a visit in the spring and you know I am perfectly willing.    Mary, I wish her to do so and I know she will be there thrice welcome.

We cannot tell where we shall go from here till we get our marching orders there is a report Circulating in camp that 3 company of our Battalion are going to Winchester in Va and the other is going to build a new fort about 3 miles from our own at Sullivans Gap, but it is only a report and we cannot tell anything about it till we get the orders for my part.  I had rather stay here than go to Baltimore for it is healthier here and your guard duty will not be so had here.  I have always supposed we were on the Blue Ridge but we are not we are on a short range of Mtns. between the Allegany Mtns. and the Blue Ridge and it is called the Elk Mtns.

I should be very glad to get your picture indeed  but do not deprive yourself of anything to send it to me.  I should be very well contented to be a soldier if I had no friends or family but when I think of you in your poor health and our dear Mother and my wife and children so far away I confess it makes me feel somewhat down but I must not do it for I have a great duty 

to do and that is to lay down my life if need be for our beloved country.

Tell Hod not to get discouraged but keep a stiff upper lip and write to me sometime.

Give my best respects to Uncle H(?)’s folks when you see them and tell them I have not forgotten my old friends and so I will bid you good Bye & God bless my darling Sister write again soon.  From your truly loving Brother


Kiss the Children for me

I thank you very much for those verses and I think they are very pretty.



Note:  Molly is Mary, wife of Alonzo

R. Alonzo Cady Civil War  Letter March 29, Spring  1864

Stone Fort Md  March 29

My Darling Sister

     I will try & write a few lines to you to inform you that I am still on top of the sod and enjoy in middling good health and tip top spirits.  I received a letter from  Ma Saturday eve but have not had time to get it off so I will pen a few words to my darling little Sis.  I was on guard Monday and had plenty of business to do for we had some 15 or 20 men in the guard house & it took us all (the guards I mean) to keep them straight but they are all  released except one and he will come out of it tomorrow. We are going to have plenty to do here this summer for we will have to go down the mountain for Battalion drill 3 times a week.  It causes a good deal of grumbling among the boys and they say they had rather go into the field as Infantry any day than to climb up this mountain as much as we would fare better if we were in Shermans  or Thomas army  but I reckon I can stand it till next fall & then I think we will all come marching home.

     We heard some artillery firing yesterday up the valley in the direction of (Winchester or Manchester) but have not heard what the matter was.  It may have been some slight 

skirmishing with guerillas  or something of that kind.


     You spoke of 2 letters you had written and received no answers.  I received them both and answered both of them but I suppose the high water has delayed our letters.  Well little one 

It is now evening and I have received a letter from Mate & I must close this & write to her so excuse me this time if you please.


Good bye Sister & write soon from Loney 

Md. Hts.  April 8 /64 

My Darling Sister

I received your kind and thrice welcome letter the first of this week & was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you were as well as you were and according  to your wishes I deferred writing till I received the housewife which came to hands tonight. My Sweet Sister you have my heart felt  gratitude  for your kindness in sending me so valuable an article and it will someday be in my power to repay you for it. I had to show it to some of my companions and they pronounced it the most complete article they had ever seen and I fully agree with them there.  It is so complete and everything is so nice I don't know how I ever can repay you but it shall be done if I live to come out of this with life & health.  


Dear Juty I have no news to write for the very good reason that there is nothing going on except some changes in Commanders at this post and the talk is now that we are going to Baltimore but I cant tell you anything about it for there is so many rumors afloat about our leaving the heights.  But there seems to be more truth in this rumor then in any others that have been afloat.  I think by the writing of your letter that you are the most Patriotic of any of our family. But Bully  for you for being down on the Copperheads they are worse than an open avowed traitor  and would to God I had it in my power to deal with them according as I saw fit.  I would hang them all by the heels until they were dead, dead,  dead.  But they will catch particular fits in old Scio  when I get home again. I've had two letters from Molly  this week she was well and so were the little ones.  I got a letter from George and Mother this week they were all on gain but Mother has had a bad time with the rheumatism but  is getting better. 

You wanted to know about my food. Well the fact is we have so many different kinds of food that I can't begin to name them but it is principally bread meat & coffee. I can buy butter here for $.35 pr lb and eggs for $.30 per dozen and everything else accordingly so you see if we want anything extra that  it costs us quite a pile to live. My bed is made of  two of Uncle Sam’s  blankets and my overcoat while my pillow is my clothes  that I pull off that night. But it is a very good bed for a Soldier and I have no cause for complaining unless it is sometimes about my food which sometimes is not as good as it should be. You must not think because I write about Stone Fort that it is such a fort as they have around the cities for it is no fort at all only of breast work thrown up with breaches or portholes for the big guns to poke their noses  through.  But if you could see Fort Marshall you would see a nice place but our  fort is not properly a fort. 


Saturday morning . 

 Darling  Juty I did not have time to finish this last night but will do so this morning  it is blowing and raining like from this morning but that is nothing new to us  that we have had a great deal of such weather this spring. 


We all had quite a time yesterday for we have to commence practicing with the big guns.  Every Co. is allowed to shoot 25 shots a month at a target and I saw some very good shots made by some of the other Cos.  Our Co did not fire but two shots but we will have to go at it again Monday. They fired 6 times from the 100 pounder and I reckon  it made the very earth shake.

 I shall have to close by Saying Farewell and may God protect my beloved 

Sister Juty  Farewell 


R. Alonzo Cady Letter  April 14, 1864

Md. Heights April 14 

My Darling Sister 

     I received your kind loving and thrice welcome letter of date Apr. 10 last night and you can form no idea of the good it done me to peruse it’s precious contents.  I was glad to learn that the ring went through all safe for I know that you would highly prize it of on no other account than that it came from Maryland Heights.  I was very very glad to learn that you are able to get around the house.  I feared dear Sister that you would never be able to do your own work again but since you are improving in health I feel certain that we shall surely meet  again sometime. Do not let my absence trouble you

 for it may bring you down again.  I should not have written you  about our going to Idaho and I would not have done so if I had taken the second thought but do not let it worry you for it has all blown over I guess for I have not heard anything about it lately so you must not let that fret you.  Do not believe what you hear about the H. Artillery going into Infantry for they have not done so.  They are called to the front from the defenses of Washington in a Seige train but they can’t  take us into Infantry for more than thirty  days in a year and I believe they can do that but do not worry for I  don't think we will have to go out of our calling for the present.  We have had a good deal of snow here for Dixie but it is very pleasant now. Dear Sister I have some glorious news to write this time.  The 5th Art. have all left Baltimore and come to Maryland Heights and Molly’s Brother is with them and I am going down where he is today to see if I can get him transferred into Co. I.  They came here last Sunday and *Henry & I have been together 

every day since.  Oh Juty if you could have seen us when we met you would have seen

two happy boys for we had made up our minds that we would not meet until the close 

of the war but if I can get him transferred into this Co.  I’ll bet we will have some glorious old times together and I shall be perfectly contented with  my present situation.

He is a fifer in Co. H. of the 2nd Battalion.  But he says if he can get in the Co. with me he will be willing to lay aside the fife and take the musket.

I received three letters from Scio last night together with yours and one from Washington.  Molly was about crazy when I wrote her about our going to Idaho.  Dear Sister when she comes down to see you try and instill  a portion of your brave spirit into her for she is not brave  to bear up under trouble and grief.  Try and cheer her up so that she may be able to bear my absence.  She is not half brave as our Mother even.  She writes that she has the blues all the time.  She is getting to be as bad as Hod I reckon.  Now Juty do not worry yourself down sick on my account but keep up good courage like a brave girl that you and all will yet be well for I do not think we will have to go to Idaho yet awhile but perhaps we shall be ordered to the front  in a Seige train. But never mind I have made up my mind to come home again and I shall stick to it till I get something to tell me different.  But I would not like to be taken prisoner by the Johnny’s and I don’t think I shall for old Gen. Grant has got hold of the lines and he is going to put things right through.

I got a letter from one of the  **Jacob Johnson boys last night.  He writes That Grant says the Army of the Potomac has got to take Richmond but I am afraid many a brave boy will bite the dust before that is done for it is strongly fortified and the Rebs will fight to the last man.  It has got to be a war of extermination for they are a gritty lot of men.

Darling Sister I will have to close so Farewell for this time.  Kiss the children for Uncle Lon and except a thousand more for yourself from your still loving and Affectionate Brother.  


Write again soon. Alonzo Cady


Written upside down and on side of letter .

I thank you kindly for the pepper although I can get all I want at the cook house  but still I thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending it and I think it will taste sweeter

coming from so dear a Sister.  Good by and God bless you.  Lon 

Bully for the Bone Set Tea.  Give my love to all that inquire after me but keep a share for yourself.



*Henry is son of John and Charlotte Burrall Peterson.  1850 census records Charlotte as white.  John and all of the children are recorded as Mulatto.  Information in this letter is further proof that many mulatto’s/blacks served with white units and were serving before the formation of the  U.S. Colored Troops.  Henry played the fife in the Wellsville 4th of July parades for many years.  The fife is in the hands of Darwin Cady’s granddaughter or her children

in California.

**      Jacob Johnson family is also recorded as mulatto.  Sons names were 

Benjamin, George W.,  William L., & Sylvester.


Letter, May 22, 1864


 5-22-1864 p1

How do you like this heading [Transcriber's note: he is referring to stationary which is printed “5th New York Heavy Artillery”with soldiers on horses and horses pulling Artillery cannons.]

May 22, 1864

My Darling Little Sister Juty,
It is with the greatest pleasure that I now undertake to write a little to you in answer to the half sheet I received from you in Molly’s letter. I was awful tickled to hear from you and to learn that you and Mary were having such good times together and O juty how happy I would have been to enjoyed the pleasure of your visit and to have been with you but cruel fate keeps me in Maryland and will for some time yet. But I hope not longer than till next spring and if Gen. Grant keeps on as he has begun, Blessed peace will again reign over our beloved country, and that right speedily but many, O how many wives and Mothers, Sisters and Brothers will be called to mourn the loss of friends “killed in Battle or” died in the Hospital”, but I pray to the giver of all good that I may return in safety to my friend to enjoy their society and to enjoy the blessings of Peace once more.

You said Dear Sister that if you lived in these parts you would climb up these rocks often if the Soldiers did not object Well there is no fear of that for they like the society of women as well as if they were at home and perhaps a little better for if a strange lady comes into camp to see the sights to be seen she is the center of all eyes. especially of the privates who do not go out of camp often. We were favored with a visit the other day of the little school marm that resembles you so closely, and it made me feel rather watery to look at her for she looks so much like my darling Sister that it seemed to me as if I had ought to fold her in my arms and press my lips to hers in one long fervent kiss, but I am sure if had done it I certainly should have got in a mess with her gallant so I stood back and looked on. I have just come back from a walk out to Solomons Gap which is about 4 miles north of our camp and it is like “the rocky road to Dublin.” I reckon there are some snakes among these rocks though I have not seen any as yet. To let you know how well the soldiers like the Shemales there is 9 men belonging to Co. I that have their
with them there is 3 of them stays in camp and the rest are in different houses at the foot of the mountain. One of the Ladies here in camp is a Corporals wife and she cooks for the officers and the other two are privates wives. One of them does washing for the soldiers and the other cooks for the Sergeants. But I wouldn’t have a wife of mine in camp among so many rough soldiers for the whole of my bounty for it is no place for women. It is getting to be very hot weather and I am afraid I shall lose my fat this summer but if we stay here we won’t have any fighting to do I may still get fatter. I sent you a paper a few days ago and I hope you will get it for it is a very nice one and there are some very pretty pictures in it. Well Juty I don’t know whether to say anything to Hod or not for I have never seen any of his writing since I have been a Soger. Tell him if he thinks enough of me to scratch a few words to me I should be very thankful and if he don’t it is all the same to me. Tell the children that Uncle Loney thinks of them very often and when he comes home he will bring them all some kind of a present if they are good children to their Ma. Kiss them all for me and accept a thousand more for yourself. I can’t think of any more nonsense so I will write no more.

Good Bye I write soon from your own true & loving Brother Alonzo Esq


Letter, June 9, 1864


June9 1864 Page 1


Letter, June 17, 1864


 June17 1864 Page 1

Friday, June 17, 1864

My Sweet Sister Juty
__________(missing) With Joy I hailed your thrice welcome letter last evening but again I had to place my darling wife ahead of your sweet self. I know you will not blame me for it as it will only make one days difference with your recipt of this. I am still able to eat anything______________(missing)
Rat tail soup ___to eat____________(missing)
and am as tough as a _________( missing) as an Elephant.
I wish I could see you my darling sister for it seems a long time since I have seen your sweet countenance in reality though I look at your precious likeness every day and dream of you every night almost. But wait and have patience is the order of the day and I reckon I can do that right smart (as the Southerners say) O Jute it would make you laugh could you hear the funny talk in a conversation carried on between two or more of the natives such as expressions as “right smart”. “I reckon” “round about yer” (round about here) they call a shilling “a levy a five cent piece a fife and a great many other addities that is enough to kill skunks. One picket duty throws us against the natives a good deal and I am fast learning this slang and I cant help it. The Citizens across the Shenandoah river are not allowed to come over in to the ferry to trade nor to cross the ________________________(missing) they have to come to the bridge ___________(missing __________ (missing) their Loyality with the names of two vouchers attached and then send in their bill to some of the merchants (not over ten dollars a week) who bring their goods to the blockade when an officer in the employ of the provost marshall signs his name to the bill of sale and over it goes through a Lieutenants hands to the native and in that way they are prevented from helping the Rebs to any provision. If a man wants to buy a coat he cant do it for not over ten dollars is allowed to one family every week. How would you like such a mode of trading not very well I fancy Now then to answer some of your questions The rose I sent did not grow wild but in a farmers yard and I do not know whether any of that sort grow wild here or not, but there are thousands of wild roses in this part of the country like the wild ones I have seen in old Allegany. As to the woods there are plenty of them except within a mile or so of the defenses of Harpers Ferry and they have been cut away since the war broke out for the purpose of discovering an enemy before he should get too close. The timber is mostly second growth for it has once or twice been cut down and manufactured into coal. The timber is mostly chestnut with a sprinkling of hickory Black oak pine & spruce I have not seen a hemlock tree in Maryland but over in Va. they have a log hut for the guards built of hemlock logs. There are plenty of Laurel bushes here the first I ever saw. And the pine here is not such magnificent trees which grow in old York State but small dwarf trees with limbs clear down to the ground. Our quarters are built of chestnut logs roofed with pine boards and the hut which I call home contains 16 souls 5 yankees, 5 dutchman and 6 Irishman so you see we have all sorts of men in our Co. Well Juty you will think your brother is getting simple for writing such stuff with nothing in it interesting but it is the best I can do this time. You sent me a bunch of thread and I thank you for it but I have not used up one half which came in the house – wife. I do not know of anything you can do for me more than to write as often as you can and tell me all that happens in all your neighborhood that you think would interest me (you understand ) Give my best wishes to all my love & kisses as many as you please to yourself and children and now good bye for a short time. Hoping to hear from you soon I remain your loving Brother


Summer 1864       #3   ?

Darling  Juty  One sheet will not hold all I want  to write for I can’t begin to tell you half that has transpired since I wrote to you last.  I think our marching orders have played out in full for the Major  Commanding has unpacked all his goods and gone to keeping house again.  We thought we would go to Washington for the War department  sent 

for the best Battalion of Artilery to come and garrison one of the many forts in defenses of the  Capitol and Gen. Max Webber picked out the old 3rd Battalion as the most skilled in the practice of Heavy Arty but the Rebs were too thick between us and Washington for us to go with safety and here we are yet and I hope we will stay here this summer

for it is more healthy here than there .


The weather is exceeding  hot in the daytime  but cool nights and we had had no rain of any amount since the first of June and our springs are about dried up.  I hope we shall get rain soon but it does not look like it now.  

If your Cabbage does well you must make some Sour-Krout so that I can have a good feast next fall or winter when I come home of Furlough.  Dear Juty you wanted to know what you could do for me but I do not know of anything except to pray for me and to write as often as possible & tell me all the news you can.  How I should  like to have been in your Company at that festival near Hunts Mill.  I think I  could have enjoyed myself  first rate.

Perhaps I will try some day to give you an outline sketch of our Barrack as it is but 3 of the men are gone from it.  Two of them were discharged as unfit for the service and the third was killed by the Provost guard at Sandy Hook.  He was down at the Hook and  got to drinking  too freely and the Provost tried to take him to the guard- house  but he resisted and they stabbed him with their bayonets in 3 places.  He died from the effects of his wounds a day or two after.  Well Juty I have filled this half sheet and I can write no more.  God Bye

Write soon Lon to Juty




R. Alonzo Cady Summer 1864 # 3

     Well Little Sis.  I can’t write enough on one sheet so here goes on another.  There is no use saying a word about my health for there is not a tougher Soldier in the Third Battalion than that same Leon Cady.

You may think that is pretty strong talk but it is just as true as Preaching.

We have just got the news that our 2nd Battalion were engaged in Friday night and that they lost 40 or 50 killed & wounded.  O how a tremble when I write for I know not but Henry is among the number  but I will hope  not  till I learn differently.  The rebs brought a battery of 6 guns to bear on our boys when they thought to take the Battery and accordingly charged on it but the rebs fire was too hot for them and they had to fall back.  but they got reinforcements and the rebs had to withdraw their battery.  we saw the fight and the charge from the Heights but we could not tell how the tide turned nor who were engaged until today.  I am sorry to hear of Uncle Hi’s loss.  it seems that the creek owes him a grudge for something he has been very unfortunate on the account of heavy rains.  I am sorry, very sorry, for the Home guards that they prove to be so cowardly that they can’t guard a few rebs a little while without running away to Canada. poor little fellows it is too bad that they have to go so far away from their Mammy’s and endure such hardships. I pity them from the bottom of my soul (of my shoe).

I wish they would send the 3rd Battalion to Elmira to guard the graybacks we would show them how it is done and I bet my old boots that they would not get away from us, Nary time:  I wish it was so that I could have saved all my letters for they contained so much love that it seemed hard to burn them but it could not be helpful for I had too big a load of them.  I’ll bet I had 450 letters since I enlisted and I don’t know but more.  Most of them from Molly (of course) and the next best was my Darling little Sister.  It would be a good revenge on George to send your likeness to him without writing if you do so please let me know how he takes it for I reckon it will cut him to the quick.  I would like your photograph if it will not discommode you Sweet Sister for the likeness I have don’t  look hardly natural but  still I can see some of your looks in it.  Do not worry yourself about the condensed milk for I do not use much milk lately nor do I care but little about it.  Tell Linny that Uncle Loney thinks she is a smart little girl and I always did for that matter and when this war is over and I come home I will give her her name present.  Kiss both the little girls for their uncle and tell them that he thinks of them often.  I would really like to hear from Cousin Emily although I have never seen her and if she writes to me I will ask her to change pictures with me so I can see how she looks and then I can tell how I shall like her.  Dear Sister I thank you for the prose & poetry and shall keep the verses but they are hardly true for my coat has never been cut with balls they are very pretty.

You must be very careful of your health dear one and do not get down to the bed if you can help it for my Sister I want to see you smart and have a good visit with you when I come home on furlough.

Precious One how I long to clasp thee in my arms and print a brothers loving kiss on thy ruby lips, yes not only one kiss but as many as you can count in one half hour.  I will send you a little account of how the guerrillas use our men, the hounds they are citizens by day and bush whackers by night that is the most of them but our folks hardly ever retaliate till now and the boys don’t take any guerrillas prisioners bully for them and they are burning the citizens buildings we saw some burning last night I would like to see every building in the Shenandoah valley burnt to the ground  I’ll bet the citizens would not harbor any guerrillas then  well Sis good bye & god bless you and protect you till I come back from the war  good bye again accept 1000 kisses & write soon from you loving soldier Brother   






 July17 1864 Page 1

R. Alonzo Cady Civil War Letter

Stone Fort Md. Hts. Md   Sunday, July 17, 1864


My Precious Little Sister

     I received two letters from you last Friday and I was very glad to hear from you again for it had been a long time since I had got a letter from home for the Johnny Rebs have been raising perfect cain round about here lately but the mail came through Friday and brought me four letters.  Well I am still tough and 

hearty as usual and hope I shall be for many a day.  Two weeks ago today the fighting commenced near Martinsburgh and it has kept up till now and still they keep fighting off South of us but in sight of us for we can see a long way from the top of this hill.  I tell you what Juty we have been in a pretty tight place here part of the time for the Johnnys are 30,000 strong while we did not have 1/3 of that number and we were surrounded on all sides at one time but they did not venture to take the Heights.  The Rebel Gen. Breckenridge was with them and he wanted to try the heights but Early said it was of no use for it would be a great slaughter and nothing gained.  And so it would have been for there is but one place that an army can get up and then they are in front of Stone fort and nine guns to bear on them.  I will tell you what Co. I can do the 6th day of July the Rebs came in range of our guns and we were all called out to man them.  The Rebs were in a skirmish line for they did not dare to come in bodies into the range of our Batteries but if we could see two or three of them together we would let fly a 30 lb. shell at them and it generally scattered them right & left.  The Johnnys planted a battery and fired into our skirmish line but they did not fire a half a dozen shots before our big guns knocked it in to a cocked hat, and they drew it off the field.  We saw an officer of the rebs riding along his line on a white horse and he was 2 ½ miles from Stone Fort and our Capt. said “boys lets try him” so we loaded up one of our long 30 pounders and drew a bead on him & his horse for they were seen to fall.

And a day or two after Gen Sigel came up to see us and looking away to the north west with his glass he spied the Johnnys wagon train drawn up into a

Square.  Says he “Capt. Clark can we reach them?”  Cap says “we can try” and we did try for we put 3, 30 lb shells right into the middle of the train and they were nearly if not quite five miles away. So you see my little Sis that your bub has had a hand in shelling the Johnnys but I wish they had come up on the heights in front of the guns of Stone Fort so that we could have used grape & canister instead of shell we would have annihilated the whole rebel force.  But they are gone now and I don’t think there is a reb in Maryland except some few guerrillas

and Rebel sympathizers and they must keep still for stone fort makes a very good prison and we have got some of the skunks here now and one of them wears a pair of bracelets to boot.

Well Juty we cant get any papers here now for the railroad is partly destroyed between us and Baltimore but I hope it will repaired before long so that we can get letters back & forth without delay and also buy a paper once in a while to see how the battle goes on.  We have been under marching orders for a week with our knapsacks packed but I reckon it is played out for we don’t hear anything about it lately.  Well good bye for the present.  Kiss the little ones for me and 

accept a few for yourself.  I remain as ever yours Lon


 Write soon as possible  Alonzo to Juty



R. Alonzo Cady Civil War Letter

Stone Fort July 18, 1864

Darling Sister

     I received your book & the papers to night and was much pleased to get them 

For Johnny Reb has been raising perfect cain “round about yere” (as the southern people say) and we could not get anything to read for two weeks.

No dear Sister the rebs have not got your little Brother yet nor has a rebel ball come anywhere near me as I know of yet.  I have heard the whistle of them as they flew on their mission of death.  And we could see the flash of the guns of both sides and hear the shouting of the combatants as they pressed forward to the deadly conflict.  O my Sister it is awful to see men that have been reared under the same laws and the same starry banner (long may it wave) strong and eager to take each other’s lives, but as we have made our bed so in it we must lie, and I will fight to the death before I see our dear old flag insulted. No my darling I would not have you take my place for is not your sweet life as dear as mine?

You should never hear that your soldier Brother ever deserted the dear old flag while star or stripe remains or to prove false to the Patriotic blood that courses through my veins.  We have had some very sharp fighting all around us and it is still going on yet it is in the distance but not so far away but what we can see the flash and hear the roar of artillery we have not been called upon to fight with our muskets at least not Co I though the first Battalion of the 5th are in the field and Gen Hunter and the 2nd  Battalion were in Harpers Ferry on the 4th in the fight but the third Battalion have used nothing yet but heavy artillery in any of the fights.  I sent out a letter this morning to you and in it I stated something about the fighting here.

The Johnny’s got a pretty good hand in Maryland of horses money and provision and if they get back safe to Richmond with it they will have enough to last them some time but I am of the opinion that they will not get their whole train through safe, for they had ten or twelve hundred wagons loaded with spoil.  They did not get into Pennsylvania this time for they got enough without going out of this state but we hear that 40,000 more of the hounds have started from 

Richmond on another raid and if they have and take the same route that the others did we may see a little more fighting at this point. But I reckon they can never take Md. Hts. for it is a strongly fortified place.  Well dear one it is nine o’clock at night and still the boom of cannon comes borne on the breeze and I must bid you adieu but hope not forever.  With love and 1000 kisses to you I remain your loving Brother

Alonzo Cady, Esq.


P.S.  I have not received Mothers letter which you spoke of but it may come in yet.

Au revoir




Stone Fort    July 27, 1864

My Darling Sister

     With the greatest pleasure do I now attempt to scribble an answer to your 

loving letter of the 24th which came to hand tonight and was only two days coming.  I know my darling one that you have been looking for a long time for

a letter  from me but the blamed Johnny’s took it into their heads to capture the heights and so they commenced by cutting off communication to this point and

we could neither receive nor send a letter for some time. You see they thought there was nothing but Militia at this point but they soon found out their mistake when they attempted to storm the heights for we landed our shells right in amongst them with the precision of sharp shooters.  If you would like to read the details of what our Battalion done in the fight to get the NY Daily Herald  of July 24th & you can see the whole account of the battle.  Our forces have been driving the rebs and have captured a good many prisoners and a great many of their wagons but they received reinforcements and our folks had to dig out for the heights again.  And there is any quantity of troops here now & if the confederates want Maryland Heights let them come on.  We are ready to try them again whenever they see fit to attack us.  And you may bet a cookie they will see fits if they try us .  We hear that they have crossed the Potomac about 12 miles from here but whether they are going to attack us or push on for Baltimore remains to be seen.  You ask dear Sister which I would do compromise or fight it out.  Now as I am a Yank I will answer your question by asking another.  Could old Abe compromise now and save his honor and the honor of the country?  No not according to his emancipation proclamation.  And now let us fight it out if we have to draft every man who is able to carry arms and if we perish let us parish fighting for God & Liberty.  How does that sound?

I hope if they draft on this last call they will draft all Copperheads for I know a great many that I should like to see down in Dixie and they are no better than I am to fight for our country.  I hope we shall get paid soon for I want to send Ma some money for Delly is going to live with her & go to school this summer and fall for Molly has moved from under her Fathers roof and is living now with Susan.  I will have to close for tonight for the bugle has sounded for to put out the lights so good night & pleasant dreams for you.

Good Morning  Darling Sis how are you this  pleasant morning.  I have just been out to take a look at the troops down in the valley and to see if the rebs are about but nary a reb could I see.  The Soldiers that are camped at the foot of the mountain look nice.  There must be 15,000 of them and they are all busy cooking their breakfast.  The reason why I did not finish my letter last night was that I got one from Molly at the same time and I thought I would write to you both for I knew you would be looking with anxious eyes till you hear from me again.  You be sure my Sister that I shall write every time and I hope the rebs will let the railroad alone so that our letters will get through without so much delay.  Well Sis you will laugh at this letter and say Loney is crazy but I ain’t but 3 or 4 of the boys in our shanty have got into an argument and of all the noise you ever heard they make the worst.  Two Dutchman and two Irishman and it is a perfect bedlam and I can’t think of anything to write so you must excuse my harum scarum writing and if possible I will write a different letter next time.  I tell you Juty, Molly writes brave letters lately and such letters do much to cheer me up coming as they do from a dear wife and your letters always sound  so much like your dear self and may your feeble crys always be heard.  Well dear one I must 

 close and get my breakfast of Beef Hard tack & coffee so Farewell for a time your Affectionate Brother till death.

Alonzo to Juty

Kiss the little ones for me.




R. Alonzo Cady Stone Fort Md. Hts.  Aug  8th  1864


My  Darling Sweet little Sis

     It was with the greatest pleasure imaginable that I recd. your loving & thrice welcomed letter tonight and O how eagerly I grasped it when I saw your well known hand writing.  It did not take me more than 15 minutes to tear off the envelope and read its precious contents 

I am still able to eat my ration of hard tack and bacon and drink my coffee and to tell the truth I am enjoying myself tip top and I hope when you get this poor scribbling it will find you in good health & spirits.

Well Sis you wanted I should write the news & there is plenty of it just now.  But the Rebs have not got Harpers Ferry nor are they like to unless they bring an overwhelming force for here and within one days march from here we have 100000 men and the best force of Cavelry in the service which is Sheridens and they have crossed over into Virginia to day and we shall probably hear from them soon   The 2nd Battalion of our Regt.  have been turned into Infantry and have been on the march ever since the 29 of July, they have camped down in pleasant valley yesterday (Sunday) and I went down and had a chat with Joe.  He likes it well.  He said it made his feet some sore for the first two or three days but he soon got over that he looked rather dirty for it is dirty traveling in these parts and some days they marched from 25 to 30 miles.  They have moved again today but it is so smoky that you cant see a body of troops more than a mile off.  I am on guard today and I must go on post for two hours and I will finish in the morning so good night and pleasant dreams .  Tuesday Aug. 9 good morning darling it is a fine morning  and bids fair to be another hot day.  Dear Sister the ground they have got fixed up for the Johnnys in Elmira is well known to me for I stopped there a while last winter and there is where I got broke into a soldiers life and a good Breaking in it was.  Bully for home guards if they have got to do something  towards helping our country for I suppose they are mostly  composed of copperheads and I hope the government  will hold them while this rebellion lasts.  I do not know as I am right in rejoicing over their destiny but I feel like this, that it is every mans  duty who is able to carry a gun to turn out in the defence & protection of our beloved country.

O Sis.  I have seen sights for the last week or ten days so many troops passing & repairing here, long black lines as they looked to be and then we had a Signal Station here and one could get a peep through their glasses once in a while.  But it is so  smoky this morning that we can see nothing of what is going on except in our own camp.  The signal glasses are very powerful for on a clear day we can tell a man from a woman in Martinsburg with them a distance of 19 miles on an air line.  Juty you must forgive me for not sending this letter off this morning for I slept till near time for the mail to leave and I had not time to finish it.  But it shall go out in the morning.  I got a letter from Molly last night but I sent her one yesterday morning so I did not write but shall today and send yours and hers tomorrow.  She wrote that she was well but the little boys were not very well.  O juty  how had I want to see my little family especially my little cherubs and their Mother comes in for a big share of my love.  Little Curly as I call him (you name him Winny) is so cunning for he just begins to talk and he has learned all the bad talk it is possible for a child so young to learn but still it sounds funny to hear him for he is only two years old.  When he says anything naughty  and his Ma chides him for it he will shut his little eyes and say, “ I want go sleep, I want go bed, I sleepy.”  What do you think of that for a youngster.  I think it pretty sharp for a child of mine.

Well Juty I hope I can get a furlough this fall or winter for I want to see you all O so bad and I shall try very hard to get one.  But if I don’t come you must keep up good cheer and a brave heart and not let my absence depress your spirits, but remember that your brother is in the good cause and fighting for the starry banner which you love so well and may the good God above grant that we may be successful and that right speedily and if I am any judge we shall win for we are in the right.  I shall have to spoil another sheet  with my scribbling.   Your papers told the truth when they said the rebs were in Pennsylvania for they did go there and burnt one town but they soon got out of that on the double quick too for our Cavelry got after them and  gave them Hail Columbia.

good By, Lon




Rufus Alonzo Cady Letter from Civil War to sister Jerusha (Juty)   August 11, 1864


Dear Sister,

I will send you one of the papers which we take here for a few clippings from the Baltimore American and the news in them are very good and you may believe it.  You need not answer this by letter but when you write please let me know if you got them.

O Juty we have had the name of our Fort  changed from Stone Frt. to Frt. McPherson in honor of the brave Gen McPherson who fell before Atlanta a short time ago, and we are fixing up the fort in good style and building another Magazine which will make 3 in the fort.  Well Juty the wind is blowing pretty hard & I guess it will blow into a rain at least I hope so for we need it.  I am well and hearty and hope you are the same.

Good Bye.

Alonzo To Juty



Note:  Served as a Private and a Corporal.  Co. I, 5 N.Y.V.  Heavy Artillary



Harpers Ferry, Va. Sep. 22, 1864


My Darling

     Loving & Beloved Sister not withstanding your injunction not to write till I received the pictures I must scribble a little today even if I do not send it out for I must tell you (though I suppose you know all about it ere this) of the great victory that our gallant Gen. Sheridan & his brave army has won this week.  it is a great victory and all the country rejoices over it.  he has utterly routed the enemy and captured two thousand five hundred to three thousand prisioners that are sound and as many that are wounded besides five pieces of Artilery  with all their appendages a fifteen battle flags and has followed the retreating rebs thirty miles from the battle field. O what a glorious victory and what cause we have for rejoicing but many very many must weep  for the beloved ones who lie cold in death and I do not know but what Henry is among the number for I have not heard from him since the battle  I heard from him last week and he was all right then but now O Sister  I tremble lest he may be gone to that bourne from whence no traveler ever returns but still I have hope and shall have till I learn the worst if there is any.  For my buoyant nature will not above me to be downcast but never hopefull and it is better so.  is it not my Sister.  two hundred men from the 3rd Battalion and two hundred from the first got marching orders this morning & have started for the front but they are only going out as far as Winchester after the prisioners & will be back in four or five days.  but they may possibly have a brush with Mosby’s guerrillas before they get back for he infests the country up towards Winchester very much but we occassionaly  get one or two of his men we sent a squad of them to Washington a few days ago.  they are the most bitter rebs I ever saw.  I asked one of them the other day if he would take the oath of Allegiance if it was offered him and the answer was “No so help me god I will die & rot in prison first “  I said bully for you stick to your principals and I will to mine.  but a great many of the prisioners are tired of the war & seemed well satisfied to be any where so as to get rid of fighting  and some we have here come in of their own accord and expressed their willingness to take the oath. Saturday Sept. 24th  Precious sister I will pen a few more lines today for I have just rec’d the papers you were so good & to send me please accept my heartfelt thanks for them   I think the Harpers is a very good paper and the engraving called ” The Blessings of peace.” Is very pretty indeed and soon aye very soon shall we see those blessings for every where our Armies are victorious.  O Sister if you could only be here today & see the recruits pouring in and the Rebel prisioners going out you would say the war is all most at an end  and I think myself it cannot last long.  We have received another batch of Rebs from the front.  Yesterday there was over 1000 prisioners came in & they picked out all the officers & put them in our custody.  There is 126 in all .  3 of them are Col’s and the rest are Majors, Capts., Lieut’s,  &c and they were sending off a lot of the Rebs today.

I have talked with some of our prisioners and they say they never got licked so bad during the war as Sheridan has licked them in the valley and they also think that this fall will wind up the most of the fighting.  One of the recruits which came in this morning told me he had been in the Rebel Service 3 years and was now going to try his hand in ours for one year he deserted from the rebs last July at Petersburg.  he says they are robbing the cradle & the grave to fill up their thinned ranks and that they can’t hold out much longer   I hope his words may prove true  now another sheet



Harpers Ferry Va. Oct. 7, 1864


My Sweet Little Sister

     How happy was your brother to get your loving & ever welcome letter which came to hand last night & brought the welcome news that you were well and doing well.   First darling let me thank you for those pretty verses “When Loney comes marching home”  They are very nice and I am looking forward to that day when I shall come home (whether marching or not it makes but little difference to me so that I get home) and shall behold my loved ones face to face.  O what rejoicing there will be and what a hugging time we will have won’t we deary.        

You ask me Juty if I do not think that God has put it in the heart of man to keep me where there is so little danger.  I do not know but it is so far I have been very lucky so far.   Firstly in choosing the 5th Artly and next in getting into the 3rd Battalion and if I was as good and pure as my little Sister perhaps I would attribute it to something else besides luck  do not think I am getting skeptical sister for I believe there is a God who ruleth all things but why is it that he had permitted such an unholy war to be so prolonged?  Is it to punish the nation for its sins.  If it is I think we are punished quite enough.  for the flower of our Country the young & vigorous are slain by thousands and yet thousands more must fall or sacrifice ere the demon Secession is uprooted  But “as  we have made our bed so in it we must lie  And there is no use crying over spilled milk and I for one am willing to go into the field and face a thousand deaths rather than to give up one rod of this beautiful land to the Southern fire – eaters.  Yes Sister Harvey was a good boy and many pleasant hours have I passed in his company in my boyhood days but those days are passed never to return.  7 o’clock P.M. dear Juty I have just received your 2nd letter so I will answer them both in one and it must be a short one for I have just got one from George and I want to answer that tonight and I have only half a candle to do it by.  I wish I had some news for you this time but news is scarce as hens teeth to day.

I must say a little to the family  Tell Hod to never mind his bad writing but write at any rate for I love to see his writing for it makes me think of old times  & tell him to vote and let the world know he is an American citizen  I am not afraid to let anybody know that Abe & Andy are my choice.  That makes me think of what the Rebel Officer said to me , I was on guard at their room door one day and a Reb Major got into conversation with me and among other things he asked me  what were my politics.  I told him Republican to the back bone, says I.  I voted for uncle Abe once and shall do so again.  He said if Abe was re elected it would only prolong the war  I told him that would make no difference to me for I enlisted for 3 years and expected to serve my time and if they was not licked by that time I would go in for another 3 years.  Says he bully for you.  Stick to your principles no matter what comes of it.  So much for that.  Tell Em that uncle Lon is glad he is all right and hopes he will keep so.  Tell Linny  that I accept the love & kiss she sent and that she must learn very fast so she can write to her uncle.  Tell Ella that “untle onny is glad she is doin to school when she gets bid.”  I would really like to hear her sing well I would you know for if I was near enough to hear her little voice I could soon see my darling Sister.  I have heard nothing about Lee getting hurt but if the news should come that his head was stone to pieces I would shout till I could shout no more but I am afraid it will be some time ere we hear such news.  Do not think I am getting discouraged for I am not No, Siree I am as gay as a lark and as for any sorrow I don’t know scarcely what the word means unless indeed I hear of some of my darling ones at home being sick,  Keep up good heart Darling for I think you will again see that picture, that of myself & little family   do not be scared about my stomach for I assure you it is alright for I am as hearty as a buck but to ease your mind I will promise to take some pills as soon as I get back to camp for they are in my knap sack on the Heights.  bully for those union ladies  who wore the badges at the democratic meeting they are the right stock but our Northern women are not quite as brave as the Southern for we have had two women in the prison who had put on a union uniform and were acting as Reb Spies but they got caught at it and have been sent to Baltimore   Now Sis I must stop and write to George so good bye for a short time & write soon .  accept a little love and a few thousand kisses from your Brother




R. Alonzo Cady Fall 1864


Darling Juty I must write a little more for one sheet will not hold all I want to say though what I do say don’t amount to much.  But this much I can say & that is everything looks favorable this fall for the Union & if you could see the recruits that pass through here to join Sheridan & all the Rebs that go the other way to some Northern prison you would say the same.  Even now in the room where I am writing is between one & two hundred recruits answering to their names as their Regiments are called & there has a whole string of Johnnys gone up stairs.  I don’t know how many but I should judge there was over a hundred of them.  You see they keep coming and going like the old womans soup.  Two Rebs came over at the Musket place yesterday and gave themselves up for they said they  had got tired of fighting.  One of the recruits that are stopping here told me he had served 3 years in the Rebel Army and when his time was up they pressed him for the war but he deserted from them last July at Petersburg and now he has got on blue.  Bully for him. 

I wrote you  a letter the other day & in it I told you about the big battles which Gen Sheridan & his gallant Army have fought in the Shenandoah valley and his victories have been about as great as Shermans at Atlanta.  O he is one of the best Generals in the service.  And I suppose you have heard that when Grant heard the news he ordered a salute of the guns to be fired and all the guns were shotted out and aimed directly at the city of Petersburg.  How that must have made the Rebs wince to find so much iron coming at them at once.  I would like to have seen that firing.  You ask what kind of weather we have down here and I will tell you it is getting quite cool nights but when the sun does shine in the day time it is still hot enough to spoil eggs but for a day or two it has been quite moist but I reckon it will soon pass away and be dry again at least I hope so for it is quite disagreeable to stand guard in such damp weather but we soldiers have to put up with a great many things that are disagreeable but the most of us are willing to endure any kind of hardships to have this unjust & cruel war brought to a close but for me an unconditional surrender.   You can see I am a U.S. Grant man.  But I must confess we have a great man in this army who came from other motives than Patriotism but we will let that pass for what it is worth if they only fight well.  I shall have to come to a conclusion pretty soon or I should have room to say good bye.  Give my love & specks to Hod & tell him for me to vote for an honest man next Nov.  Kiss the little ones for me and accept as many as you please for your self and now may God in his goodness bless & preserve you till we meet again   write soon

Yours forever Alonzo to Juty


Note: shotted - cannons loaded with grape and/or canister shot instead of single shot/ball




Rufus Alonzo Cady Letter December 21, 1864

My Precious Sister

How happy was your Soldier Brother to receive your loving  letter  which came to hand just long enough ago for me to read it & it was with trembling fingers that I broke the seal .  Although I recognized your well known handwriting & how eagerly I ran over the first few lines to find out how you were.  I was

Happy you were still able to write a few lines to me, but O my darling one will it ever be that we shall behold each other again. I hope and trust we shall for if you grow worse or get dangerously sick & send a telegram to me I will come home if I have to take a french furlough.  Let the consequences  be what 

they will.


You do not know nor can imagine how lonesome I have been since I heard from you last for Molly is sick and is at Mothers & you so very sick that it did seems sometime that I should fly away. O if I could only be home for a short time now.  I think I could come back perfectly satisfied.  I would not care so much about coming home if my dear ones were all well, for I don’t think I shall have to serve another year for the rebs are badly whipped at all points.  Gen Thomas had completely routed Hood and captured 64 out of 65 pieces of artillery & about eleven Thousand prisoners and Gen. Sherman is at Savannah and is probably throwing shot & shell into the doomed city ere this.  We fired a salute of 100 guns here on last Friday & again on Saturday in honor of Sherman & Thomas, if you had been within hearing you would have thought the rebs were coming again.  O Sister we have been very jubilant over these great victories.  I say we, I mean all my comrades, for  I could not control my feelings sometimes when I thought of my darling ones so far from me & on beds of Sickness.  Often when on duty and at the dead of night while walking the lonely Sentinel post my mind would wander from my duty to my home & to you and the tears would start from my eyes in spite of all I could do.  I do not regret that I am in the army, but I do so want to see my darling s especially when they are in sickness and trouble.  May God in his mercy help you to bear up under your great trials & spare our lives till we meet again.  Dear one I must write a letter to Hod so I will have to close my letter to you.  Good by my darling and may God always bless you.  Write soon if you are able to & if not I hope Hod will do so soon as you get this. Farewell again for a short time. Your  loving & beloved brother   Alonzo


Dear Brother  Hod

With pleasure I saw your well known hand writing again for I thought you had  forgotten  me entirely but I see you have not.  I am as well   &  tough as a bear & have been ever since  I have been here except a week or two when I had a cold in my face.  I have done my duty ever where I have been put and have always been ready every time  except  those  two weeks but that don’t make any difference  in this

Battalion for the man that does the most here gets the least favors.  I do not expect to get a furlough 

unless I get news that some of my folks are dangerously sick  & then I will have to work very hard to get it, but if there are any given this winter I shall try very hard to get one myself.

Yes Hod you say right the blood hounds must be licked & they are getting it now  right smart.  I hope this thing will play out in the course of the next summer for it has run about long enough but let us wait & hope for the best.  Well Hod we have no news here except that it is as cold as blazes and the wind is blowing like fury tonight.  Take good care of my darling Sister & I know you will.  I must close for want

 of room.  Please write again soon from your  Brother Lon


Dear Sister these verses I sent to you they express my feelings exactly.  Lon to Juty


Poe has got back to the Regt and was up to see me Sunday.  He is well.  R.A. Cady







Rufus Alonzo Cady Civil War ltr Jan 2, 1865


Darling Sister Stone Fort Md. Jan. 2, 65

     With a heart full of love and 10,000 thanks do I sit down to tell you how much joy your presents brought to me.  I received them tonight and over half an hour ago for which please accept my heart – felt thanks & please thank Hod for the tobacco for me.  As soon as I found out there was tobacco in the stocking I had an all fired big chew in my face & it is there yet.  I will send this in a paper to you.

So you must excuse me for not writing a longer letter this time.  I am well and hearty as ever & I expect to go over in Virginia on picket tomorrow.  The weather is very changeable here & that makes it very disagreeable.  It is quite pleasant and mild & the snow flew like everything for a day or two past.  I expect it will rain before I come from picket so very unsteady is the weather.

There was one Christian Commission in our camp the other day & he gave me the child’s  paper.  I will send it to Eva.  Dear Darling Juty what a good letter you did write to me.  Yes Darling my love for you is very strong & why should 

It not be for you are my only, my darling my Idolized sister.  O the hopes of 

Meeting you once again this side of the grave goes for sometimes I do get very lonely but I never allow my feelings  to get the upper hand of me if I can help it.

I am glad you like those verses and O how I wish I was a soldier in that other Army under the good & great Captain. But no as the verse says I have never been enrolled.

You do not know the trials & tribulations one of those soldiers have in this army for there is not an hour in the day but he hears the very worst blasphemies & curses that ever mortal lips uttered  not withstanding all that here are some Christians in the army & some that strive to do what is right in our Co.  I have been talked to long and earnestly by one of our Corporals on the great subject of religion & invited to their prayer meetings which they hold every Sunday evening but I have never been to them yet.   Well sister I must close for want of room please accept lots of love & kisses for you and yours.  And now may our heavenly father guide and guard you safely through the life and if it be his will may we meet again in this life.  Write soon.

         Farewell again.  Always your loving Brother.

Lon to Juty




R. Alonzo Cady Civil WAR Letter    January 17, 1865

Stone Fort Md. Hts.  Jan. 17/65


My Precious Little Sister

It is with a heavy heart that I seat myself to answer your loving and ever welcome letter which was duly received last night but you will have to excuse me darling for not having to answer it sooner for I was on duty and did not get time, but I’m from the earliest opportunity as I always do for I know how anxious you will be till you hear from me again. My tent mates have nearly all gone to bed and the shanty is quiet so I will do the best I can to entertain you for a few moments.  In the first place let me say a few words about my health.  I am (thank God) quite well & hearty with the exception of a little cold which gives me a little touch of my old disease the Phthisic  (you see I have not forgotten how to spell it) but it is not considered it that I have a cold for the weather is very changeable here, the sun will shine and be very pleasant all day & perhaps before the next morning it will snow and blow enough to take the hair off from ones head, but I think I shall come out all right in the spring,  don’t you see.  I am sorry darling to hear that you are so poorly but thankful that you are still spared to write such sheering letters to your soldier Bub.  But keep up your heart my Sister and do not give way to your feelings but strive to bear up for my sake for oh Sister I must see you once again (???) we past forever.

I will try oh so hard to get a furlough sometime this winter  in the beginning of spring for I do so want to see my darlings.  It is now over a year since I saw Mother, Molly or the children and that is a long time for me to be away from home but it has passed very swiftly away to me.

Darling Juty you ask what I am doing over in Va. over on Bolivar Hts. to keep citizens  who live inside from going out to give any information to the guerillas and also to keep the guerillas from moving into Bolivar or Harpers Ferry to spy out anything they had not ought to know, for I must tell you Sister these guerillas are peaceful farmers by day and they bush whack at night.

I send you a rough sketch to enable you to see were we go picketing.  We have a line of pickets from the Potomac to Shenandoah River right on top of Bolivar Hts.   You will see that the villagers of Bolivar & Harpers Ferry lie between the two rivers which form at this point a letter V and I assume you dear one there is not the least danger over there.  All we have to do is let no citizen pass without a pass signed by the Provost Marshall or the Commanding General & no soldier without a pass from his Commanding Officer.  So you see it would be a pretty hard matter for the Bush whackers to gather any information concerning our strength.  Fort Duncan (our Head Quarters) Battery Sullivan. Stone Fort and several other Batteries of smaller dimensions are all garrisoned by the 3rd Battalion while the 1st & 2nd  battalion of our Regt. are at Camp Hill which is just between Bolivar and the Ferry.  The last time I was over on picket I went down to Camp Hill and had a good visit with Henry.

Now as to being well clothed this cold weather.  Yes Sister I do not want for any kind of clothing for Uncle Sam had any quantity and he does not care if we get our whole pay in clothes.  The worst of it is we have to buy our boots.  Well Sister I am afraid this letter will be uninteresting for there is nothing going on here worth relating.  Our Forces have again attacked Fort Fisher off Wilmington and I hope & pray they may this time be successful & then there is only one more seaport town of any importance to capture and that is Charleston & when that falls: How are you Confederacy?   O there is one thing that I had almost forgotten.  The reason is so many soldier boxes lost in this.  We have so many dishonest teamsters in the service and they would as soon steal a box from a soldier as a citizen & then again there is generally a good many of the same name in a Regt.

Well I must close & go to bed, so good night darling & pleasant dreams.  My love & kiss to you and yours.  Good by darling from Lon to Juty.  Please write soon.



Note: Phthisic is asthma.

Henry is his brother in-law, Henry Peterson.




Stone Fort Md. Sunday  Jan. 29, 65


My Darling & Beloved Sister

     With love & gratitude do I seat myself to answer your loving and ever welcome letter which I received a day of two ago but I know you will excuse me for not writing sooner.  When I tell you I had just come from picket the day your letter came & I had not slept a wink the night before & I could not compose my mind enough to write but I have had a good nights rest & am feeling pretty well so I will try to while away a few minutes in conversation with my darling Sister .  And what better employment can I find than that of writing to one so well beloved.  In the first place then let me say a word or two about my health.  I am still well enough to do my duty every time I am called on either camp guard or picket and my cold is very much better than it has been, although I cough some yet but I assure you darling , that take it altogether I am enjoying first rate health.  I think you are unnecessarily alarmed about my having Phthisic.  for nothing ails me except a slight cold which I trust will soon leave me and I shall be myself again.  

Darling  Sister you spoke about your being under the Doctor care again.  O how my heart yearns to see you especially while you are so feeble.  I would give, I don’t know how much, if I could only get a furlough to come home this winter & see my darling little Sister.  but  a recruit in the Battalion & the old members must of course have the first chance , although they have only 7 or 8 months more to serve ere their time is out, but if there is the least shadow of a chance for me, I am in like a thousand of brick.

Now to answer your questions concerning Henry .  No he did not have to do too much fighting for he was in the drum Corps. & had to help carry the wounded from the battle field, but he has told me that his Co. never went on picket while they were up the valley but what he was out with them.  Yes he is in Infantry and for that matter the whole Regt. is.  for if we were not we would not do picket duty & we are all under the command of Gen. Sheridan, though our immediate Commander is Brig. Gen. J.D. Stevenson, whose Hd. Qtrs. are not Harpers Ferry.  but Sheridans Head quarters are out or near Winchester, about 25 miles from the Ferry.  No Juty I do not get tired of answering your letters nor your questions.  on the contrary it gives me great pleasure to tell you all you want to know about our affairs here, that is far as my poor ability will allow me to do so.  I am pleased to know that my poor letters prove interesting to  you for I never dreamed that I had enough blab to interest any one, although I try my best every time I sit down to write.

Dear Sister please give my very best respects to your Mother Howe & tell her your Soldier Brother thanks her very much for her kindness to my only and Idolized Sister and that just as soon as I can get hold of some verses that I think will suit her I will send them forthwith.  So Juty they are going to move you again are they?  Well I hope it will prove to be the best move of your life & may your life here after be a pleasant one.  I should very much like to come down and see you after you get settled in the hollow.  I hope Hod will stick to the old place & be contented to be his own boss.  I shall try & be contented after I get to be a free man once more and not hire out for so long a term again.  Well darling I will commence again for I had to break off and eat my dinner         Now what do you think I had for dinner.  Not hard tack surely but some raised biscuit & butter some Allegany Co. Pork, Coffee and some fried cakes.  Now isn’t that a bully good dinner for a Soldier to have, I think so & how I thought of the loved ones at home (who sent it to me) while I was eating.  Even my little twin boy had a share in the box for he sent his Pa his Christmas present a candy Lion.  Well Sweet Sister there is so much confusion in our Shanty to day that I can scarcely write so you must excuse all blunders.  Tell the little girls that Uncle Lony thanks them for the love & kisses from their pretty lips instead of the paper.  I thank you darling of the picture of my old house in Elmira .  How natural it looks & I can even pick out the Barrack that sheltered me from the storm for nearly six weeks.  It is just one year ago today that I climbed the Heights for the first time & how short a year it has been to me.  O how much has been done towards crushing the rebellion in that time.  May god grant that as much & more if possible may be done ere another twelve months shall pass away.  good bye Juty & may god bless you.  Always your loving Brother  Lon to Juty.  please write as often as you can for I shall be very anxious till I hear from you again  good bye Sweet little Sis good bye. 





Rufus Alonzo Cady’ Letters from the Civil War (as written)to his sister Jerusha WINTER 1865


M.S. Christian Commission


Well little Sis, I have commenced on the second sheet but whether I can finish remains to be seen.  In the first place I will answer your questions.


There are a few sick ones in our Hospital but none I believe from our Co.  The general  or division Hospital is at the Ferry and I think there are quite a number in it.  Ours is only a one horse Hospital for the sick ones from our battalion, and as to the guard – house it is entirely empty.  It has been so except now  & then one gets in for missing role call or something of that sort since last July.  O no I am mistaken we had one man in for stealing money from his comrads but he has been sent to the  Dry Tortugas.       You ask what we do with the big guns.  Nothing, absolutely nothing except to drill on them once in a while but if you had been in hearing distance you would have thought that we were doing something with them for we kept them barking day and night while the Johnnies were within reach of us.  Yes I have had a hand at all parts of the drill or loading as you call it and although I say it myself I am so good at it as most of the boys in Co. I except now and then one of the old members who had had 2 ½ years to learning and if our eyesight was good I had a hand in hurting some of the rebs last summer.


I believe I wrote in one of my letters from Elmira that Heavy Art. Was armed with short swords but I was partly mistaken and right in part.  They were so armed  before the breaking out of the rebellion but now we are armed precisely as Infantry will have to learn the Infantry drill.


You are anxious about my sleeping I see so I will tell you just what kind of a bed I have.  This is myself and bunk – mate.  First & foremost we have a straw tick made of old coffee sacks and it was once filled with pretty good straw but we have never worn it out, top of the straw bed we have a tick without any straw in it which serves us for a sheet, then we have each a wollen blanket over us besides each of us has an India rubber blanket with one of our overcoats serves for a pillow and the other one in cold nights we lay across our feet.  And when we undress at night (pardon my boldness) our pants and other clothes make a very good pillow.  So you see I am very comfortable while I am in the Quarters but when I am in picket I do not fare quite so well.  O Juty you would laugh till your sides ached if you could have seen us the last time our picket 26 privates one Corporal and Sergeant in one tent.  I wish I could get a photograph of us sometime.  I would send it to you.  I shall get half a dozen photographs taken after pay day to send to my friends but they cost pretty dear only 3 dollars for 6 of them.  You ask about socks & towels.  I believe I have a supply now for I have 2 pairs of socks that I drew only a day or two ago which I haven’t  worn as yet and Mate sent me a nice towel in the box of provisions which I have only used two or three times.  Well Sis the sheet is most full & I haven’t said anything about my health but it is all the same.  I am the toughest little sardine in the box and that’s whats the matter.  Tell the little ones that uncle Loney thanks them for the love & kisses I sends them as much more.  My old specks to Hodi and you O my darling except all the love you can imagine and all the kisses you can heap on your milk pail. Adieu sweet sister for a short time I pray God protect you till we meet again.  


Yours ever 


Love to Juty


Notes:  Dry Tortuugas is a Fort off the Florida Keys. Juty is probably nick name for Jerusha .




Rufus A. Cady Civil War Ltrs. Winter 1865 # 2

Dear Juty it is Sunday and I have not sent my letters out so I will write a little more.

     I got a letter from Molly this morning and she wanted I should write for her so here goes.  She is well and so are the children and the reason she has not written to you is she is to work out for a living, (what do you think of that) and has so much to do that she scarcely gets time to write at all, but I have written her to write to you for you are such a good little Sister that I do not see how anyone can help writing to you.

     Molly is at work at Larnards  Tavern and gets 12 shillings a week.  Debbie is up at her fathers and Eddy is at Susans and Lon* is in the army so you see she has nothing to hinder working out but I hate to have her do it but I cant help myself.  Among other things that she writes she says she is coming down to see me if I cant get a furlough out bad as I want to see her I don’t want to have her come down in Dixie for it is no place for a woman in a Soldier Camp.  Please write to her and try to talk her out of that notion.

     I will have to stop writing for it is so blamed cold today that I can scarcely hold my pen so I must say good Bye and write soon.

     From Lon the Rambling Soldier

160 more Johnnys came in today


Note:  Molly is the nick name for Mary (Peterson) who is wife of writer Rufus Alonzo Cady.

Susan is Mary’s sister.  * His reference to Lon is to himself.  His nickname.







   Stone Fort Md.  March 13, 1865 

My Dear Little Sister

It is with pleasure I seat myself to answer your lovely letter which came safe to hand this evening & you may bet I was rejoiced to get it for I had been looking for  2 or 3 days & I could not tell whether the papers  went through safe or not. I wrote rather more than I should have done to put in the papers but when I feel like it &  get to writing I  run on with my  nonsense  & cannot tell when to stop.  As to health  I am enjoying that best of blessings to its fullest extent and  am in the best of spirits for how cheering  is the war knows from all quarters  of our  glorious army.  We are having considerable extra duty to do just now in consequence of Sheridan's victory over Early   for he sent a lot of prisoners  here for us to take to some  point farther North.  The guard that went with them were taken from our  Ist  82nd Battalion and we have to do the picketing in their place while they are  gone.  Consequentially the duty falls rather heavy on us, but we are good for it  and I don’t know as it hurts me any.  I have heard tonight  that the 1st 82nd Battalion have got marching orders &  are going up to guard the Rail Road near Cumberland Md.  and as I am going on picket tomorrow I shall go down Camp hill & find out the truth of it.

O how I do rejoice to hear you say this warm weather improves your health.  God grant that you may still keep improving till you regain somewhat of your wanted health.  Be very careful Sister and do not expose yourself too much to the air for you know this Spring weather is very changeable at least it is here.  But I think we are a little more forward here than you are at the North for there is no snow to be seen & the grass begins to start a little.  I think we shall have an early Spring.

Yes Sister I can tell you where the Dry Tortugasis if you have a map of the United States you will find it is an Island on the coast of Florida , not a great many miles from Key West.  I think it lies a little west of Key West.  It is a dry sandy barren Island but it is in the hands of our Father Abrahams  soldiers, and there are some fortifications there and the government was wont to send Military  Prisoners  there to work on those fortifications, and they send once in a while one there now but the most  of them now are sent to the trenches in front of  Petersburgh.

Yes Sister I go snacks in a frying pan.  We have two of them in our Shanty one of them is sheet iron (and it once had a good handle but it is broken off now) and the other is one half  of a canteen with a wire handle.  “What do you think of that for kitchen furniture.”

Yes we have more than that for our Shanty (as the 12 men who are in it) owns jointly two Camp kettles, two wash tubs and two wash boards & we most of us do our own 

washing.  We have two good springs about 75 rods from camp and our wood is near by so you see we can wash cheaper than to hire it done for those that hire have to pay from 5 to 10 cents apiece.  We get some rain water once in a while and then we all turn in & scrub up the parlor, kitchen, pantry, bed room & wood house all in one room, & the floor gets swept up once a day &  no more.  I have seen some of those  tack with the fresh meat  in them but as a general thing our tack is fresh & good  (you know how good it is) and we have had some bacon that if you get a piece of it raw it would walk off our plate if you did not watch it “right smart.”  But we have had no bacon for 4 or 5 months.

Never mind the mistakes Darling for I can make out a suitable letter of every one you write.  Mate has come to the conclusion  that she will stay at home.  I had a letter from her Saturday night & she gives up with good grace like a good girl.  O I do want to see her & you all so bad but not for worlds would I have any of you come here  could I help it unless I was badly wounded or was dangerously sick which I trust will not be the case while I am in the army, if I am destined to have either  one of those misfortunes here it has got to come pretty quick  for I don’t believe the war is going to last long.  The rebels have at last come to the conclusion to arm 300,000 slaves & put them into the field but 

They never will make a fight like freemen and another thing is this, half of the rebel soldiers will not fight beside them.

Another sheet 

That was a pretty large chew to cost an extra stamp and I have chewed on it all this evening and it is not all gone yet.  Accept my thanks.    Lon



Rufus A. Cady Ltr. March 17, 1865

Stone Fort Md. March 17, 1865

St. Patricks day in the morning


Darling Little Sister

     I will try and answer your kind and loving letter of Feb 12th which came in due time.  I was over joyed to receive it but sorry oh so sorry to hear of the sickness in your family but hope & trust it will soon pass away.  I myself am not very well for I have quite a cold and my face is swollen some so that I could not get my picture taken for you for it would not look natural, but I think it will be alright in a few days & as soon as it is you may look out for a picture.  I will try to do as you desire and have the forehead all in view but if it should take just as I am you would not know me for I am awfully tanned.  I hardly know myself when I look in a glass.  I will try & not look scared or green but just as I am in reality a bould Soldier boy.  I hardly know what to write as you not ask any questions this time.  How I do love to answer your questions for then I can think of enough to fill up a letter but today my thinking cap is gone and I am afraid you will think me dull.  My face & throat hurts me some, and when anything bothers me I cannot write worth a snap so you will have to excuse me this time if this letter is disjointed and mixed up for it cannot be helped.  So there is oil to be had in Hog Hollow is there?  Well may be I will have a hand in the pie when I come home that is if they give wages enough, for if I have to work for a living I must get a good price for my work, for a soldiers life is such a lazy life that I am thinking of going into some kind of humbug business for I tell you, I don’t like work at all   at all.

So you keep a kind of half way house do you? For all that are a mind to come and partake.  I know just how that goes for I kept such an hotel while I lived in Scio Village I worked in the grist mill.  I never want to do so anymore, as it cost me more to feed visitors than it did to feed and clothe my family.  Well there is no news going on here worth relating, except this and I suppose you heard it by now.  Sheridan has been completely successful in his raid for he has cut the Richmond & Lynchburg Railroad in several places & destroyed a very large acqueduct on the James River Canal besides destroying a number of boats loaded  with ammunition and he has joined Grants forces on the north of the James and soon Sherman will join him on the south of Petersburg when Mr. Reb will have to dig out of that which indeed there is a rumor to the effect that they are preparing to evacuate already but where will they go to is more than I can tell.  O it is not going to be many months ere they are whipped to their hearts content, for how can they keep it up when there are so many of their men deserting every day is a mystery to me.  Time alone can tell & I think it will be a short time too, if it would only  keep dry weather so that artillery could be moved .  We would soon see what Grant can do, but as long as it rains every day or two the army cannot move nor do much else than to  smoke its pipe.  I am thinking sister that this letter will be as a cool spring for the parched traveler, for I cannot write today there is no use talking .

Don’t worry about this jaw of mine for it will be all right in a day or two at least I hope so.  I Cant think of anything to write in answer to those few lines of Hods only this, I hope he will have a little more peace when he gets out of hunda but I am afraid he will have just as much company, for I am coming home some time next fall & I will bring my whole family along and make you twice glad “don’t you see.”

Well sister I cant fill more than this sheet & I reckon you will be glad when I stop so I will close by sending a lot of love & kisses to you and yours.  Hoping to hear from you soon I remain as ever your loving brother

Alonzo to Juty.


Note:  written upside down on last page “ & I wrote a good many more.



R. Alonzo Cady   Winter or Spring 1865  (Feb. 3 to April)

I am very happy to hear that my poor letters seem to do you so much good.  If they are so precious to you , I will write as often as you do and perhaps a little oftener  Yes darling it has been a long time since I saw you last, since I parted with you at my gate.  It seems but yesterday, but twas nearly two years ago and O Sister how much have we all undergone since that time.  Our darling Sister has passed away.  You have seen a great deal of trouble, Mothers health is very poor.  Mate mourns for her Hub who is so far away.  While I have nothing at all to trouble me except when I hear of some of my dear relatives being out of health.  O may God grant that all our lives be spared to meet again this side of the tomb.

You ask if the oil fever reaches into Md. but to tell the truth I can hardly tell for I do not have much conversation with the citizens here and as to soldiers we only look a day ahead to see perhaps if we will come on picket the next day or if the teams will come up & bring us our rations of fresh beef and soft bread.  I think I might possibly go into the oil regions after I get out of this that is if there is any money to be made   I shouldnt wonder if it would be good for your health to live where the oil grows and do not at all doubt if you should get some of the crude oil & take it you will benefit by it.  The greatest ary here is about the peace commissioners who have come from Rebeldom to confer with uncle Abe.

To days paper states that they have arrived at city Point and that Lincoln had gone down to meet them.  God grant that peace (an honorable peace) may be obtained, but time alone can tell.  One of the peace commissioners is Stevens the Rebel Vice – President.  Well Juty I fear I shall weary your patience if I write any more so I will wind up my ‘little whistle: 

Give my love to Hod & the girls & accept as many kisses & all the love you wish 

Please write often and take care of No. 1.  From your ever loving Brother to his far distant yet ever near & dear Sister

Lon to Juty





Stone Fort Md. April 2/65

My Darling Little Sister

It is with the greatest pleasure that I seat myself to pen you a few lines informing you that the writer hereof is still in the best of health & in good spirits as usual and hope when you receive these few miserably written composed sentences it will find you enjoying yourself in the most agreeable manner. I received the magazine & “good news” which you were so kind as to send me (for which you will please accept my most heartfelt thanks) and also the long sheet of paper well filled.  Tell Hod if he loved to read long letters as well as I do he would get some paper made on purpose for you at least 2 feet square for I know you love to write as well as I love to read.  Do not be alarmed dear Sister about these poor old teeth of mine for they are doing finely.  the first of the business is if I should get them drawn (all that are decayed) I would have none left to eat my tack with don’t you see.  So I shall try to get along with them till the war is over , which will be mighty soon or I’m no prophet.  What cheering news we do get from all parts of our noble army  Everything goes finely and it is rumored that Lee, Longstreet & some other Reb Gen’s have come over into Grants lines with a flag of truce,  to confer with our Lieut, Gens s  to some terms of peace.  They have at last seen the folly of any longer continuing to hold out against the soldiers of truth & right.  and it seems are willing to make peace on almost any terms.

I was over on picket a few days ago & I was talking with a man from Co. L. of our  Battalion & he offered to bet from 25 to 100 dollars that peace would be declared in less than 30 days.  I think he has got the figures rather too low, but still he may be right.  If his words come true & we have peace during this month  I shall be with you by the 4th of July. (I will all feel gay when &c) but don’t let us place too much confidence in these peace rumors. For my part I don’t believe in them.  the best way to obtain a permanent  peace is to whip them into submission, & that will be done long before I serve my 3 years.  Grant is on the move.  Sheridan is on a raid south of Petersburgh with his Cavelry. Sherman and Schofield are moving up from North Carolina.  Thomas with 40 thousand horseman (Cavelry & mounted Infantry) is moving from Tennessee towards the doomed Capitol of the so called C.S.A. & Hancock (now in command of the forces in the valley) is preparing to move up the valley  towards the same point .  So you see the fate of Richmond is inevitable.  She must come down , & with it goes the Rebellion.  The cowards at home must not be alarmed for those who are drafted will not see much fighting.  So I must direct this letter to the noted village of Hunts Meadow, shall I.  Yes darling the place is noted for more than skedadlers.  it is noted as the birth place of one little Soldier who volunteered to escape the draft.  & also of his sister Jute, one of the best little Sisters in the U.S. or any other country   I expect you have had some tall waters  up in your part of the country by all the accounts I see in the papers & otherwise.  Mary has written me that she and Susan were alone the night the water was the highest and they had to carry their goods all out of the house and into another mans  premises, and they staid away all night & the water washed the banks all away and undermined one corner of their  house.  That was rather a close call for the Shanty,  I should think.  I have not heard a word from George since the flood & cannot tell whether  they are all gone down stream or not.  I was worried a good deal about my family for I know there must be a very heavy flood but thank God they are safe and Mate wrote that she was going to house keeping this week.  then there will have to be a regular Noah’s flood to do her any harm.  I shall have to finish on another half sheet




R. Alonzo Cady Spring of 1865 (specific date unknown)


Well little Sis I have made a mark on this sheet but whether I fill it remains to be seen.  I have not received a letter either from Uncle Fred or Cousin Emily but I always crowed in when I hear the orderly Sergeant reading off the mail for I do love to get a letter from the North and more than all that I love to answer them.

There is no use talking any more about a furlough this spring for they are “played out” in this department.  But perhaps it is just as well only the disappointment it causes both with me & you all at home for it would only be for 10 or 13 days and that is too short a time for me & then it cost so much that I am really too poor to afford it & then again we would all feel so much worse than we come to part again that I reckon it will be better to wait till I am a free man.  I don’t know how it is that joe could get a furlough at any time unless it is on account of his officers being of a different stamp than mine but I do not wish to have or to serve under a better officer than Capt. Johnny Clark of Co. I.  I never asked him for a pass or any other favor but what I got it except the furlough and there were too many names ahead of mine that they “played out” before it came my turn.  But if any of you had been dangerously ill I would have got home & should too if I had to take a “French leave”  Well darling we have got our Church  done and a very imposing edifice it is too.  The sides and ends are built of split chestnut logs set up and wise and the roof is canvas.  The floor table and benches are pine boards and they have a nice blue flag about 8 feet long by 5 feet wide with these words inscribed upon it in white U.S. Christian Commission.  I believe they are going to have a flag staff raised in front of the Chapel to raise it upon.  We had meeting yesterday but I did not attend for I came off picket and was very sleepy and I also had two letters to answer consequently I did not go but I hope to have the opportunity to attend next Sabbath.  There is no news in to days papers only the report of deserters from the enemy that Sheridan has taken 1000 more prisioners.  I have clipped a little piece from to days paper that will show you how they come into our lines.  In front of Richmond, Petersburg the rebs give any of their men 50 dollars & 30 days furlough if they only shoot any of their comrads who attempt to desert to our lines.  But that does not hinder a great many of them coming over.  Not long ago a rebel sergeant was sent out with a 6 mule team & wagon driver (black of course) and 5 men after wood.  They had just got outside their line when the mules were seen to strike into a gallop & were apparently running away but as soon as they got out of musket range of their picket lines the mules were checked easily enough and they all came safe into our lines.  The mules were bought by Uncle Sam and the money was equally divided among the men, who immediately took the oath of Allegiance and started for the north.

You ask what has become of those who so narrowly escaped death.  The last I heard of them they are in the prison at the Ferry heavily ironed.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  I cannot say whether their sentence was revoked or not but I should not be surprised if they were at liberty ere this.  That was very nicely done by the detective in trapping that jumper so easily.  I think he was rather green to be caught so slick but drink will make a fool of man any day.  Do not be alarmed Sister about you Soldier brother getting into such habits.  I confess I do take a drink now and then but I know enough to keep my senses.  & the stuff is so plaguely  high that I could not if I would it is only 2 ½ to 3 dollars a canteen which is 3 pints so if I wanted to drink ever so much I could not afford it for I have a little family at home who are dependent on my wages for their support and more than all that I have no desire to make a fool of myself for I see to much of it in the army.

Well Darling here I am at the last end of the last page so I shall have to come to a close.  Horace is perfectly  excusable for not writing  give  him my best respects & my love & kisses to you my sweet Sister & the little girls.  it is nine o’clock and the drum just beat for “out lights” and I must put out my candles.  good night. write  soon Lon to Juty




Camp Hill Harpers Ferry, Va. April 28th, 65


My Sweet Little Sister

     With a heart full of love do I now attempt to write to you informing you that your loving letter of the 10th came safe to hand the 21st but being on duty that day I could not get a chance to answer it then.  But today is the Sabbath and as all our Sunday work is done I cannot employ any time better than in writing my Idolized Sister.

    My health is good.  Never enjoyed myself any better than I do at present but I hope soon to have the full enjoyment of the blessing of Freedom and the society of my little family, my Mother, my Sister & my Friends.  O how happy we will be 

when peace once more hovers over our once prosperous nation and those who have gone forth to fight for God & the right can return to their homes, their wives & their Sweet-hearts.  Yes Darling we are on the very eve of Peace, but o at what a sacrifice!  What a cost to the nation!  Abraham the Beloved has gone from us.

Words cannot express my sorrow for who among men better deserved the right of governing this nation than Abraham Lincoln.  O the anguish that rocks? every Loyal heart is intolerable.  Never since the days of Washington was a man so beloved by all classes high & low, Civil & Military. And now he is gone- gone to that bourne from whence no traveler ever returns.  May his soul rest in peace.

Now the cry goes up for vengeance: and just as sure as there is a God in Heaven, justice will overtake the guilty ones & just as sure as there is law in the land, they shall suffer for it.  Yes suffer the extreme penalty of the Law if it twenty years hence.

     We have heard scarcely any war news since the President was assassinated 

but what little we do hear is cheering.  Mobile is in our hands and the Rebel

Gen. Johnston still continues to retreat  before the advance of Sherman.  The 

State of Virginia has no rebel troops within her borders of any consequence.  The guerilla Mosby has surrendered himself and his forces (about 700) on the same terms that were granted to Lee, and before the first of June the Rebel Army will be no more, & then the work to bringing  the Seceded States back to their allegiance.  And that will not take long.  Here let me state that the papers which you sent came to hand safe and you may believe they were welcome visitors.  

Yes they did pass away an hour or so of my time most pleasantly.  Well Sis, what 

Do you think of our move that we have made from Md. to Va.  For my part I like it first rate so long there is no use of our going to the front , for where is the front? “That’s whats the matter.”   The troops that were up the valley have all

moved down from there & gone to Washington.  In one day I saw about 5000 Calvary, 25 or 30 pieces of Artillery, besides three long rail – road trains of Infantry pass through Harpers Ferry on their way to Washington.  Their reasons for evacuating the valley  as near as I can learn were these.  Firstly there is no more fighting to be done there, and secondly to give the citizens  a chance to plow and sow and raise something to live upon for how could they do so while so many of the blue coats were there to take what little  they did raise for I tell you Juty a soldier don’t care whose corn or potatoes he gets so long as he is hungry and gets his belly full. (excuse if you please)

Well Deary  Deacon Hinman told you the truth when he said a good and well filled letter does a soldier more good than an extra ration for I would soon live on half ration & get good long letters than the best of grub & no letters at all.  And he is right about our folks going to pitch in to the French in Mexico.  And it would scare you to hear the rumors that are afloat in our camp, for if I should 

believe them & they were to come true you would never see your little brother again.   For they would have to divide me into about a dozen parts to have me in as many different places at once.  One rumor is we are going to Texas another to Mexico, another Baltimore and another New York, Elmira and almost every other place you can think of.   But I don’t let any of them affect me in the least, but just keep as cool as a cucumber & let them all talk.  But there is one thing certain we will not stay here a great while . “how long is impossible to tell”  But where we are going and what they are going to do with us is only a matter of conjecture.

You will find the rest on another sheet.



                                                                              Charlestown, Va.  May 8th, 1865  (#2)


My Darling Little Sister

     I have just received your gift in the shape of a paper but I have read but very little in it for I wish to answer the little note which I found inside from you my dear & only Sister.  

I thank you kindly for your gifts and as you say they do help to pass away my time in this little village of Charlestown.

You have probably heard by my letter to Mother  that I have taken up my quarters in this little Secesh* hole and all I think about it so I will not be tedious & tell it over again.

Suffice it to say I am in the best of health & in good spirits for if we can believe all newspaper reports we shall not be in the service of  “Samuel” very long.  But Sister mine do not place too much dependence on seeing me right away.  But when you see that blue cap & cross cannons, then it will be time to be on the lookout for your Soldier brother.

You ask what I & my companions think about the assassination of our beloved Abraham.

Why Sister what a question.  What should a good Union Soldier think but that it was the most cold blooded murder of the whole war & what should be our feelings but those of the most indescribable horror.  But the perpetrator of the horrid act has met with his just deserts, no not that for his death was too easy.  He should have been turned over to the most savage race of Indians on the face of the globe for torture.  Any death that could be inflicted upon him would have been too easy for the villain.  His accomplices

in the cold blooded act have nearly all been captured except some of the plotters of the scheme who are either in Canada or flying for their lives, with Jefferson Davis Esq. Ex President of the so called Confederate States of America.  And now there is a price on his head.  What do you think of that Sister?  A President of a great Confederacy (as he professed to be) flying from justice like a convicted felon with a reward offered for his capture, and no matter what Country Shelters him (if he is indicted)will have to give him up or suffer the consequences.  The gallows shall not be cheated of its dues nor the

D____**  of his subject.  Does not President Johnson prompt action in this matter prove to the world that he will do all for his Country that lies in his power.  I rather think it does.

     Well Juty Dear now to a little every day matter.  We have been here two weeks and the boys all say I am growing fat and I believe them for I have nothing scarcely to do and we have plenty to eat.  In fact I have not lived so well since I have been a Soldier as I have since we have been in Charlestown for we do our own cooking (every man for himself) and my rations of course are well cooked.  But we do not expect to stay here long.  Can’t tell how soon we may get marching orders but in my belief we shall not go any farther up the valley but the next move I think we shall go towards Baltimore or Washington .

There is a talk of our Battalion going home as minute men.  That is take our arms  & 

accoutrements home with us & be ready to march at a moments  notice.  If we do we will get half pay, money for half rations & half clothing.  And it will not be many weeks ere we shall start for our homes, but I place no confidence in such rumors.  I think when the war department  gets around to it we shall all get a little bit of yellow paper headed with these words “ To all whom it may concern.”   And very soon after I get one of them I shall take my foot in my hand & travel for Allegany, N.Y. (don’ you see)  The weather is very fine here and the farmers are improving it by plowing and sowing all around us , and there will be more grain raised in the Shenandoah valley this summer than there has been for 3 or 4 years.

Well Sister give my love & kisses to all the family (Mother included) and be sure & give a “right good chance “ for yourself .  Write soon.

  Lon to Juty


* Secesh  means seccession


      ** D______  means devil.  In those days some people refused to use profanity.

Even the use of the word devil was considered impolite.



R. Alonzo Cady  Civil War Letter   Spring, 1865


:Here it is,:  I make no doubt Sister mine that when that little blue coat comes to see you he will be shown every attention.  But you forget he is not used to sitting

in an arm chair, nor of having anyone to wait upon him.  For if he wanted to sit down, a bench made of fine boards with the soft side up, or a rock, or log of wood, or anything that came handy was his seat. And if he wanted anything he must need get it himself.  No loving Wife or Sister to wait upon him, and I reckon

he could not sit still in an arm chair especially if it were cushioned.  I wonder how I should feel to have a good soft feather bed to lie on and nice clean sheets and plenty of warm quilts over me for  declare I have forgotten how such things do look.  I had to give up my straw bed when we came to leave the Heights but I have got used to pine blank now & do very well.  I have not taken off my clothes except to put on a clean shirt since we came here and that is something I have not been used to since I came to the Regt. but it will not be long ere I ban be where I cant sleep in my clothes every night, and the sooner the better.

O Juty what a nice description you gave me of your present home.  I did not know till I read your letter where you were to live.  I thought it might be on that street somewhere above Slaters old Tavern stand, but for the life of me I can not bring the place to remembrance .  Has the house been built since we lived there or has it been always standing there.  I am sure I can not tell.  You will soon become reconciled to your home I hope for tis home where the heart is.  But how did you find out what year the house was built if it was cut in the Hebrew language for I never heard of your studying Hebrew.

Now about flowers.  The wild flowers such as I  have seen first up north have been in bloom these two weeks and the peach and plum trees are covered with blossoms  but I have seen no flowers in anyones door yard this Spring for the people of Harpers Ferry do not appear to think as much of flowers as some folks 

I wot of. And why should they.  Every summer since the war broke out have they heard the thunder of cannon, the shrieking of shell & the rattling of small arms in the hands of men eager for each others blood,  every summer for four years have the Loyal people of H. Ferry been obliged to leave their homes, and in many cases, their all, &  flee for their lives.  But isn’t the farmers yards of Pleasant Valley, Md. they live in quiet or have done so since the summer of ’62,

when they had to suffer a great many hardships with the rest of mankind for first Lee’s invading army camped near them & after the battle of Antietam & Sharpsburgh McClellan went into camp there & reorganized his army.  But how my thoughts do run for no sooner do I get to writing about one thing then I get right off on another subject.  Well, Well, you will have to put up with it for it is the best I can do.

we are having some of the most disagreeable weather I ever saw for one day it will be so hot that we can scarcely breather in our tents & the next day we are so cold that we have to put on our over coats.  I reckon it will not last long I mean this changeable weather for I don’t fancy it at all; at all; 

Well Sis here I am at the last page and have not made out much of a letter after all. how somever it will have to answer as my thoughts are all tother  side up. Tell our mother not to worry about her soldier boy for if he is not home by the 4th it will not be long after.  Perhaps about the time she will be picking black berries with Molly, but if we should be sent to New York city I should see home & my loved ones shortly after we arrived for if I could not get leave of my officers I should take, French leave.  My love & kisses to all.  Write soon & direct to Harpers Ferry Va.     your Brother Lon to Juty


The picture is not forthcoming yet but do not get discouraged little is you shall see that or else the original soon.   Yours &c.   Lon


Note:  &c   means “etc.”     wot means “to know”





R.Alonzo Cady May 21, 1865   # 2


Well little Sis I have made a mark on this sheet but whether I fill it remains to be seen.  I have not received a letter either from Uncle Fred or Cousin Emily but I always crowed in when I hear the orderly Sergeant reading off the mail for I do love to get a letter from the North and more than all that I love to answer them.

There is no use talking any more about a furlough this spring for they are “played out” in this  ????   .  But perhaps it is just as well only the disappointment it causes both with me & you all at home for it would only be for 10 or 13 days and that is too short a time for me & then it cost so much that I am really too poor to afford it & then again we would all feel so much worse than we come to part again that I reckon it will be better to wait till I am a free man.  I don’t know how it is that poe could get a furlough at any time unless it is on account of his officers being of a different (stamp???) than mine but I do not wish to have or to serve under a better officer than Capt. (Johnny ??) ____of Co. I.  I never asked him for a pass or any other favor but what I got it except the furlough and there were too many names ahead of mine that they “played out” before it came my turn.  But if any of you had been dangerously ill I would have got home & should too if I had to take a “French leave”  Well darling we have got our Church  done and a very imposing edifice it is too.  The sides and ends are built of split chestnut logs set up and wise and the roof is canvas.  The floor table and benches are pine boards and they have a nice blue flag about 8 feet long by 5 feet wide with these words inscribed upon it in white U.S. Christian Commission.  I believe they are going to have a flag staff raised in front of the Chapel to raise it upon.  We had meeting yesterday but I did not attend for I came off picket and was very sleepy and I also had two letters to answer consequently I did not go but I hope to have the opportunity to attend next Sabbath.  There is no news in to days papers only the report of deserters from the enemy that Sheridan has taken 1000 more prisioners.  I have clipped a little  piece from to days paper that will show you how they come into our lines.  In front of Richmond, Petersburg the rebs give any of their men 50 dollars & 30 days furlough if they only shoot any of their comrads who attempt to desert to our lines.  But that does not hinder a great many of them coming over.  Not long ago a rebel sergeant was sent out with a 6 mule team & wagon driver (black of course) and 5 men after wood.  They had just got outside their line when the mules were seen to strike into a gallop & were apparently running away but as soon as they got out of musket range of their picket lines the mules were checked easily enough and they all came safe into our lines.  The mules were bought by Uncle Sam and the money was equally divided among the men, who immediately took the oath of Allegiance and started for the north.

You ask what has become of those who so narrowly escaped death.  The last I heard of them they are in the prison at the Ferry heavily ironed.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  I cannot say whether their sentence was __________?? or not but I should not be surprised if they were at liberty ere this.  That was very nicely done by the detective in trapping that jumper so easily.  I think he was rather green to be caught so slick but drink will make a fool of man any day.  Do not be alarmed Sister about you Soldier brother getting into such habits.  I confess I do take a drink now and then but I know enough to keep my senses.  & the stuff is so (playing ???)  high that I could not if I would it is only 2 ½ to 3 dollars a canteen which is 3 pints so if I wanted to drink ever so much I could not afford it for I have a little family at home who are dependent on my wages for their support and more than all that I have no desire to make a fool of myself for I see to much of it in the army.

Well Darling here I am at the last end of the last page so I shall have to come to a close.  Horace is perfectly  excusable for not writing  give  him my best respects & my love & kisses to you my sweet Sister & the little girls.  it is nine o’clock and the drum just beat for “out lights” and I must put out my candles.  good night. write  soon Lon to Juty




June 1, 1865

Well Juty Dear I don’t know as I can fill this sheet but I will try my best .

Hods old account book leaves are perfectly excusable, so long as they are filled up with interesting reading matter from my Sister. Now to your question. No Darling Minute Men are not regulars. So do not be alarmed on that account. Regulars are enlisted into the United States regular (or standing ) Army. They are generally enlisted for five years although at the breaking out of the Rebellion there was a great many enlisted for 3 years. None for a shorter turn than 3 . years being accepted as Regulars. They are always where they are wanted, that is they are always under arms, but the Minute Men that has been talked of this Spring were to be the Volunteers to be sent home on half pay but were liable to be called on at any moment until their term of service expired. But I believe that is played out for I have heard nothing about it for some time and now that Jeff is captured we have no need to go to the expense of keeping such a large Army.

And after the Grand Review they will commence to muster out & pay off the
Army. First of those old heroes of Grants & Shermans who have stood the brunt of many a battle. I am willing they should have the first chance much as I want to get home but it will not be long ere you & little Ella can sing Lone comes marching home & leave off the When.
The paroled men and officers of the Johnstons Army begin to arrive in this section. Last Friday I saw four who had just come in. One was a Surgeon. He brought with him an Army wagon and was 15 days coming through, but they are quiet orderly men & we have no trouble with them. They all have to pull off their Stars, gold lace buttons & etc. but they do it with as good grace as possible.

I have seen 3 or 4 who have laid aside their uniform entirely and go dressed in plain Citizens clothing. But the most of them have no other clothing than their
Confederate Gray and have not the means to buy others for Jeff lugged off all the gold & forgot to pay his subjects. Good by Sis. My love & kisses to all.

God bless & keep you. Lon to Juty

R. Alonzo Cady Civil War Letter   Batch # 8 Undated Drunkenness & Punishment


Well Little One here goes on this sheet but as to filling it as full as you do your letters I can’t think of enough to do it.  There must be one of my letters lost on the road somewhere for I received the one you spoke of with the tobacco and double postage and I answered it too.  Perhaps it will turn up some time.  If not it is not of much consequence.  Only I think I answered a lot of questions in that one, relating to our household furniture.  Never mind you will hear from me quite as often now that Mother is with you.    

That was rather a funny time that John & Van Slater & their comrades had I should judge.  And all for drinking whiskey.  I tell you little Sis.  I see enough here on the heights to sicken me almost every day.  Yesterday two of Co. I were walking on a sentry beat with a straight jacket on and a sentry over them with loaded musket with bayonet fixed.  Perhaps you will want to know what we call a straight jacket.  Nothing more nor less than a pork barrel with one head out and a hole the size of a man’s head cut in the other

head of the barrel.  After this “jacket” is put on a man all you can see of him is his head & legs.  It put me in mind of some pictures I drew long time ago of the walking beer barrel.  Another way to punish fractions soldiers is to hand cuff them and make them stand on a barrel (set up on end) in the camp where everyone who comes will not fail to see them.  How would you like to see your soldier  Brother in such a fix, not very well I reckon.  Neither would I like to have you see me so, no I will let whiskey alone till I am a citizen once more.  Well Sister I must bring this scribbling to a close.  My love and lots of kisses to you, Mother & the little ones.

Tell Mother not to worry about her Soldier boy for he is long well enough & will soon be home to cheer her with his presence.

Good bye my darling & write soon 

     From Lon to Juty

R. Alonzo Cady Civil War Letter Undated   “Thoughts of Home”


Well Juty Darling I have filled one sheet and have written scarcely anything that will interest you but it will have to do, for I am not qualified to write a sensible letter. 

I don’t want you to worry any more about my cough for I assure you if I thought it dangerous or even bad I should have written it to you.   All there was about it was simply this “very inconvenient” & nothing more.  And as for trials little or great I have none, no not one, only my longing to see my beloved ones and hear their soft whispers of love, & those are trials enough.  Although I will not let them weigh down my spirits.

The Housewife looks first rate  & I don’t know as there is any one of the articles lacking.  I must thank you (at this late hour) for the darning yarn which you sent some time ago in a letter.  Please excuse my forgetfulness.  Yes I did receive some little slips of paper in a letter and I  assumed whose they were but I supposed you knew all about it & there was one in this last letter  with some marks on it.  I could barely make out the letters HOWE.

Tell the little girls that Uncle Loney thanks them for their letters and also for their kisses & longs for the time to come when he can take them on his knee & tell them something about this cruel war.  Tell them when they ask you when Uncle is coming home that when the Rebels are whipped I hope to see them.

I really wish Cousin Emily would write to me as I would like to correspond with some one of my Lady cousins.  Please tell her (when you write again ) how very anxious I am to receive the long promised missive & that I thank her for the love & also to say to her for me when she gets another beau not to defer the nuptials so long, for five years I think is a long time to woo a maiden.

I hope & trust that Hod & Mate may come to a reconciliation for it would be very awkward if I should come home for me to visit you without taking her & the children with me.  But we are all quick tempered & liable to mistakes.  I hope she will answer your letter soon.

Well Darling I will have to bring this to a close.  I believe I have answered all the questions.  If not please say so & I will next time.  My love & kisses to you & the girls & my specks  to Hod.  Good by my darling.  Write soon.         Lon to Juty




R. Alonzo Cady Undated Letter “Repayment of Kindness


Dear Juty,  

I must relate a little incident.  The Lieut. Col. Of our Regt. is named 

Murray.  Well while the two battalions lay in Baltimore there chanced to be sent there a Reb. Col. Who was wounded and a prisoner & Col Murray took care of him till he got well & the Reb.promised him (Col. Murray)  if it was ever in his power he would repay him for his kindness and not long after the reb was exchanged.  Well when our 1st Batt. went out on infantry Col. M commanded them & was wounded taken prisoner & who should take care of him but this same Reb.  Col Murray has since been exchanged and is now in the Ferry. And when these Reb. officers were brought in there was a Col who inquired for 

Lieut.. Col. Murray of the 5th NY Art.  He was taken in down town and he turned out to be the same Col. That Murray had taken care of in Baltimore and who had taken care of Col. Murray out here in the valley.  What do you think of that?

Col. M. was here to the prison to see the Reb today.

Goodbye God bless my sister.