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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Sergt. William C. Cady

William C. Cady was born in Albany the 2d day of November, 1841. He was the son of Denice C. and Elmira B. Cady, and was by these pious parents dedicated in infancy to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Having been carefully reared in the principles and duties of religion, he early showed in his life the fruits of careful culture. He always obeyed his parents, and was very particular to do that which was exactly right.

Very early William manifested a great taste for reading, and his memory was remarkably retentive. His superior talents and rigid conscientiousness, gave to his parents high hopes for his future usefulness and success in life.

He was very fond of his Sabbath school and of religious meetings, and when he was sixteen years of age he was hopefully converted to Christ. Having given good evidence that he was a child of God, he was admitted to the membership of the Arbor Hill Methodist church of this city. He was exceedingly fond of singing, and with his fine voice, and with his heart tuned to the melody of praise, he greatly aided in this department of divine worship. At the time he enlisted in the army he was connected with the choir of St. Peter's church.

The guns fired upon Fort Sumter not only aroused his patriotic ardor, but led him at once to desire to give his services to his country. On account of his youth and the feeble state of his health, for he had never been strong, his parents at first objected. But he said that duty called and he must go. He enlisted that same month, April, 1861, in the Third Regiment of New York Volunteers, as Second Sergeant of Company F. He was first stationed at Fortress Monroe. In June, 1861, while expecting a visit from his mother, he was ordered to the field, and the very day, I think, before he received the fatal shot that resulted in his death, he wrote to his mother a letter from which we make the following extracts:

"Dear Motheró * * * *
On Sabbath night I received the telegram stating that you would be down on the steamer "Rip Van Winkle" on Monday morning. Consequently I went down to the wharf and waited until half-past eight o'clock, and found that you were not on the boat. I was much disappointed at not finding you there; I supposed that you would come the next morning; but I could not do anything to let you know that we had gone. I should have been so glad to have seen you and Brother Stratton, and to have taken one last good look at one, whom I have learned to love best of all on earth.

"Now, dear parents, you need not have the least fears about my getting into any bad habits while I am here; because in the first place, I love you both too much, to pain you by the knowledge that I was doing wrong. Secondly, as any habits which I might form would react upon myself in the end, and as I expect to see you and home once more, I have too much pride and self-respect, to show myself again in Albany with anything at all derogatory to my character or reputation. As I told you before, I did not join the army to get away from restraint, but because I wanted to do my duty, and to rest perfectly contented with regard to myself. The scenes in the camp are always exciting, as there are scouting parties going out all the while, to make observations in the enemy's country.

"Day before yesterday, a part of the Troy regiment were attacked by the secessionists, and one of the rebel Captains was captured. Yesterday our whole regiment was called out, and formed in the line of battle, with arms loaded, and plenty of ammunition ready for them at a second's notice. We were also out one night, from twelve o'clock until morning, waiting for the enemy. We are soon to have some warm work ahout here, and it will be short work too. We have plenty of men, and a General whose coolness and firmness are only equaled by his courage. As to our field officers they are trusted by all; and what is more the men all work together, as one man, which is in itself a great feature.

"Now, father and mother, I am living daily as I hope to die, and I feel that we shall yet be 'all at home' in Albany, once more, and that before a great while. Please write to me often, and believe me ever, yours,


With such feelings and hopes the young christian patriot went forth to his first and his last battle. The engagement took place near Little Bethel, and at four o'clock Monday morning, June 10, 1861, he was shot in the abdomen. He fell and was for some time unconscious. On recovering his consciousness, he remarked, "I am mortally wounded." Shortly before he expired, the chaplain asked him, if he thought he had done wrong in entering the army. He replied, "No, I have only done my duty. If I had to live my life over again, I would do the same thing." While dying, he dictated a letter of which the following is an extract:

"I die in a great deal of bodily misery. I want Sergeant Lord to take my body home. I leave seven dollars with Lieut. Lord. My watch is at No. 80 Houston street; my father's name is D. J. Cady, No, 12 Lark street, Albany. I die perfectly happy. I want to be sent home in a good, plain, substantial coffin; tell George to telegraph to my father what train my body will arrive on, and to telegraph him to meet him with a hearse at the depot. Tell my father that I died doing my duty, and that I was excellently taken care of, and bid him good-bye. I hope I will meet you in heaven. I hope you will come out safe. Good-bye, Captain. God bless you. I have nothing more to say.
W. C. CADY."

He died at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, on Wednesday morning, at one o'clock, aged nineteen years, six months and seventeen days. He was the second patriot to fall for his country after the rebellion broke out, young Ellsworth having been the first. He was an only son, and only child, and his parents in giving him, gave their all.

The Hospital Chaplain at Fortress Monroe, in a letter written to a New York paper, gives the following account of his interview with the parents of the noble boy: "There have been several arrivals of citizens to-day, looking after friends in camp. I notice among them Rev. J. H. Smith and B. Griffith, of Philadelphia. There came also two strangers whose appearance was deeply touching. They were the father and mother of Sergeant William Cady, of Albany whose death from a wound in the abdomen I named in a recent letter. Young Cady was a member, with his parents, of one of the Methodist churches in Albany, and the pastor accompanied them to Fortress Munroe.

All the way on the journey, notwithstanding the report in the papers, the mother clung to the fond hope that her sonóher only childówas not wounded. On her arrival, it was my mournful duty as the Hospital Chaplain, to inform her that he was dead. I never saw a more mournful scene than followed. The father sought the buried body, while the mother remained with me at the hospital to hear all the details of the sad tale. It was an hour for consolation such as seldom comes to a faithful minister. But the fact that the dear boy had died happy, that he was calm and collected to the last, that he died in hope of a glorious immortality, calmed the agitated and afflicted parents, and enabled them to say 'all is well.'"

His remains were brought to Albany, and funeral services were held in Arbor Hill Methodist church, where three years before he had professed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A large concourse of people bore testimony to the high esteem in which he was held, and to the public admiration for his character, and gratitude for his patriotic services.

The sad bereavement was too much for the fond mother. She never fully rallied from the blow that deprived her of her only and beloved child. Gradually her health failed, and on the 10th day of January, 1866, she left this earth to meet her child in Heaven. Ere her departure she spoke fondly of meeting him, and shortly before she expired she looked up and exchdmed, "I see him. He is in full health and vigor, and stands waiting for me to come to him." They have met, to part no more.

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