91st PA--Cyrus C Cartledge

A remembrance of Cyrus C Cartledge

[I have proofread this page.]
[Thanks to Ross Johnson, Jeanette Woehr, and Helen for a copy of this!]
[source: unknown]

[To the Editor of the Camp Fire Department.]

In works of fiction we often read of affection; from them we form romantic ideas of the meaning of the word, and can not appreciate it when we have it applied daily to ourselves. I am very forcibly struck with this truth, when thinking over my army experience and the affection of a brother. I could write of marches, skirmishes and battles, of tasks we had, and trades we made with the rebel pickets on the Rappahannock, but my brother's affection comes uppermost, and made the deepest impression on me of all that I passed through. Our parents were well-to-do. I was the youngest of five boys, a favored one--consequently wilful. My brother [sc. Cyrus Cartledge] was twenty and I [sc. James Cartledge] eighteen years of age when we enlisted in 1861 in the same company. After enlistment our company was marched to Independence Square to form a regiment, and be "mustered," and as the boys said, afterward peppered. They did not let the matter of a little "e" stand in the way of a pun. We were marched past our house; my mother and sister were standing at the front door, my sister wild with excitement waving her handkerchief and throwing kisses to her brother. My mother, her snow-white hair shining in the rays of the bright sun. Oh! so proud of her boys, the tears running down her dear, dear cheeks, too proud to let even her boys see her wipe them away, bravely trying to control herself, until we were out of sight. That night was the first I spent from home. What that struggle cost her I can realize now. I cried then, but tried to laugh it off. I have cried many a time since when I recall that scene, but I do not try to laugh it off as I did then. My brother, I suppose, received his instructions from father and mother to take care of me. He performed that service as faithfully as a mother almost. Now I can understand why he always was willing on the march to relieve me of any burden, and cook the coffee and frizzle the bacon, and why, he managed to be detailed in the same squad for picket and other duties; why, after a long march he hunted for water, and why, the blanket was always tucked in at my back; why it was at Chancellorsville when our brigade was flanked and we were driven pell-mell out of the woods [on 3 May 1863], he wanted to go back to find me, supposing I was either killed or wounded. Had it been so he would have found me, been captured or killed, for he was grit. The captain saved him: he told him he saw me go out on the right with a squad of the boys; and later he was happy to find me with the rest "reforming on the colors." At Gettysburg he was wounded in the side [on 2 July 1863], the ball passing under the rib, and becoming imbedded between the back bone and wall of the stomach; the ball could not be extracted. As painful and serious as the wound was, I do not think it worried him so much as having to leave me; it pleased him to have me go with him, until I saw him safely housed in Baltimore. I went at the risk of being carried on the roll as a deserter, but bless our officers, they returned me as accounted for. At this time, patriotism left me. I wanted to go home, was sick of soldiering. He was sent to Philadelphia, where he received good care, and was allowed home comforts. He gaiend strength enough to want to go south again; he could not rest, he came, but poor fellow his health was leaving him. In all the pain he suffered, and during his sickness, he was ever thinking of me and my comfort. In all these things I see a brother's undying affection.

He died as he lived, bravely and uncomplainingly [on 5 March 1878]. When asked, "Cy can I do anything for you," he said: "No, I'm only waiting."

It made my heart thrill with gratitude to see his remains covered with the dear flag, he so gallantly fought under, and to which he gave so much of his valuable life; and nearly 500 men standing uncovered with bowed heads, while my patriotic and affectionate brother was laid to rest.

J. C. C.

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revised 21 Sep 03
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