Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

From the collection of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois


If you have any comments or suggestions about this site, I would be happy to hear them.  Please leave comments here.  Thanks!

Tags :

August 13, 1862 (first letter) Camp Halleck

Camp Halleck
August 13-th
9 pm

Dear Father,

We arrived at Port Byson at 12,30 yesterday, after a pleasant ride, and marched to the village of P.B. Then we hired a team to [?] [ ], paying 40 cts a piece, arr at- 4 AM, from here we marched to the barracks and at 6 PM had our supper. At 830 retired but not to sleep, there was a great deal of talking and laughing, got to sleep at midnight.

Got up this AM at 5,30 when Roll was called. I was appointed Corporal of Squad to get Rations & Coffee for the [mess] of 8 [and] then wash dishes.

Tom was Corporal for Squad 4 and I for No 5. I think most likely I shall have to go on guard tomorrow. Which is 2 hours on & 4 hours off, for 24 hours. [Seamson’s] son* is on guard today, so is Albert Hunt**.

We have 4 boys from 20 [ ] at [ ] splendid singers, which passes off time very pleasantly.

I bunk with [A] Williams [Barney] [f], with N Hunt Y Hooker*** with Mr. [Crowl] says he got [Elick] & I under his care. He is well & seems to enjoy himself very well.

We are very fortunate in getting him in our Company. I have made arrangements to [mess] with him.

I think I shall not go down in the city today. I am sorry Charly did not come with this company to [ ]. we can hear nothing about our going away, Except that the [ ] [ ] is coming here the 21st of Aug, so I think we will leave here before that.

Please bring some more of these Testaments, the Boys want them, you see them laying around in the Bank reading them.

I have got [no] Tooth Powder. when we elect officers I can not tell.

Love to All

*? Seaman, James M.–age,23 Enlisted 2 Aug 1862 at Port Byron to serve three years. Discharged, 22 Aug 1863, at Alexandria, VA.

** Hunt, Albert A.–age,18 Enlisted 9 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Wounded in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.; discharged, no date.

***? Hooker, Thomas–age,19 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Wounded in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.; captured in action, 22 Jun 1864, at Petersburg, VA.; died, no date, while a prisoner of war.

Tags :

August 16, 1862

Camp Halleck
Co D
Aug 16th

Dear Father,

The Colonel just told us that we leave next Wednesday, for certain for Fortress Monroe, Via Albany & New York. I have had no pass since I am here, the orders is not to give one until wehave been on Guard.

Today I am on Guard my first [ ] is from 12 till 2, It is 2 hours on & 4 off, I do not know about getting a pass tomorrow. I think I will be doubtful.

We are getting along tip top here I have not heard what the No of the Regt is yet.

Hoping to see you soon with love to All


Tags :

August 26, 1862 – Camp Hill, Harper’s Ferry

Camp Hill
Co D
Harpers Ferry Va
Aug 26th ,62

Dear Father

You may be disappointed in not getting a letter sooner from me, but I have actually had no time to write, or no chance.

Of our trip to Albany, I suppose Mr Francisco has told you everything. It was very pleasant trip, and we have enjoyed ourselves very well, it was just cool enough. We had an awful march from the Barracks to the Depot at Auburn it was so dusty. while there I saw Leonard he said that he saw you in Lyons, We arr at Albany about 4 oclock, got our rations at the Depot, then went on board the Thaddeus Joy, to be towed down by the Ohio, Left there arr 7

Had a tip top time, all the morning, on the Upper Deck, In the afternoon windy & showers at night slept on the lower deck of the Ohio got up at 5, Arr at N Y opposite pier no 21 staid there until 1, then went to the Castle Garden, [then] took the [J] Delknap.

at 2 had a ration soup Coffee & left N Y after taking on our Arms at 5 for Amboy N J, had a splendid trip, never enjoyed a ride better in my life. Canons fired, Ladies waved their handkerchiefs, boys cheered, Arr at Amboy arr 8 PM, detailed to take care of some sick men, and get them on the Cars.

after a great deal of trouble landed at 9 PM. Got the sick on board, then took Co D car Short seats no cushions, awful ride, laid down on the Floor, and slept Arr at Camden N J at 1, too the Ferry for Philadelphia, arr there at 1,30, arched Cooper’s Volunteers. Free Lunch Shop there had a Splendid meal, then Marched to the Phila & Balt RR, left at 8 AM for Baltimore, in Cattle Cars, with seats in pretty rough trip, all the way.

Crossed a river in one place, where, a ferry Boat took the whole Train over at once, they had three tracks, The country is very rough between Philadelphia and Balt, through Penn Del & Maryland, very rough, I should not think one half was under cultivation, at any rate all along the track is Forests, One thing I noticed, I did not see a good looking house on the Road All the houses except the headquarters at the Plantations, were all little miserable shanties, I do not wonder that the Southeners call them Poor White Trash, they are the worst looking lot of People that I ever saw. You could tell that you was coming south, before you had hardly left Philadelphia, so many darkies.

Salutes were fired all along the Road Flags flying. If It had not been Sunday we would have enjoyed ourselves better. From Philadelphia to Balt, the RR Bridges are all guarded We arrived at Baltimore at 8 PM, marched a mile and a half to Balt & Ohio RR Depot to the Union Relief Association and had our supper, then we took the cars, arr 7 for Harpers Ferry 80 miles.

This road runs through a Splendid country, [right] a valley some places cut through solid rock two or three hundred feet high They had to run very slow as there is a great many curves, and they are afraid of obstructions, We go to a place called the Point of Rocks where the Rebels, a few weeks ago pryed a Rock weighing two tons loose, and let it down to obstruct the track, as good luck would have it, it went right over the track down an Embankment, At this place the night that we came, the Rebels ran an Engine off this Track which delayed us from 3 AM until 6, when we again got under weigh for H F, arr here at 8 AM. Just as we were coming [into the] we met the Regt that we take its place, leaving to Reinforce Pope.

This week, the 12th N J Militia and 87th [got] three months men leave.  Harpers Ferry is a deserted looking place, of about 2000 Inhabitants, it lies right in a hollow, surrounded on all sides by mountains from 1 to 4 thousand feet high. Everything looks hard here a great many buildings burned out We marched past the Arsenal that John Brown took, it is a deserted looking place

The 12th Militia got up a dinner for us at three PM of bread meat & cheese, I tell you it tasted good. The Cavalry are Guarding this place for 5 miles around, and today pickets were thrown out, The Boys like this as it is not confining. There is about 5000 troop altogether in this place of these about 1/2 will leave in a week or two. I heard a 100 pounder speak last night I will tell you It made a little noise.

This place is under Martial Law, lights are all ordered to be extinguished at 9 PM You can hear the Guard calling the hour all hours of the night. I hear it rumored that this is to be a camp of instruction and that 30,000 men are to be stationed here, this I rather doubt. I think that Colonel Sigoines policy is to hurry up things as much as possible, and get us into the Field, I do not care what he as long as leaves this place.

Stonewall Jackson was on the mountain, 1/2 a mile west of this camp, a week or two & I think we are liable to be attacked at any time, The woods around here are full of [Guerillals], the night before we came our boys brought in 12 of them, There are 2 Cavalry Regiments stationed in sight of our Camp When I write next I think I shall be able to send my Photographs When you write let me know how & when Charlie got home.

Hoping to hear from you soon
I remain
with love to all
Co D
111 Regt
[ ]

(note in the margin reads)
“[deliver] letter In care of
Capt Holmes
Co D
111 Regt”

Tags :

August 29, 1862

Camp Hill
Harpers Ferry Va
Aug 29th
5,30 AM

Dear Charlie

I received a letter from home yesterday, it caused a considerable excitement the first news from home. You said that they were getting up another Company [ ] [yours] Who is to be the Captain. Yesterday afternoon I got a pass to go in swimming, and went up to see the 126 Regt, or the one from Geneva. There I saw Jessie Cooley, H [ ] Shellborn George Warfield, & several other boys. They are Camped but a little ways from here I am glad of that, it will be more pleasant. We heard yesterday that the 2d Wayne Co Regt was coming here.

Today I go on, [Picket], up the Balt & Manchester RR, between here & Charlstown. The Boys all like to go on Picket, all the duty I have is Corporal of the Picket which is to say that the boys do not get to sleep and that they do their duty. Picket duty is one hour on and Four off.

If I should tell you all the Rumors that I hear in camp, you would hear news enough, but half that is reported is not true. We have hardly got settled yet, in Camp yet. Yesterday was the first decent living that we have had, Mr Crowl bought a Teapot, & some other things, and cooked for us, he made Coffee. I tell you we are all right. He can make, good Coffee. A great deal depends on our warm drink. Give us good Coffee sea biscuit, & I can live, I can not [go] the Pork & Beef that they have here I tell you, we were [used] [rough] the first few days we were here only one ration a day, and that, bread, I could not got along if I had not went outside to get my meals. the first day I was here, I went down the village at 9 PM, & got my dinner, had nothing to eat since the night before, I relished that meal.

Our duties now is Roll call at 5 AM, Go down to wash at 5,30 Drill at 6 to 7 7,30 Breakfast, and drills when we get settled. We have divided ourselves in [ ] of 15 to a tent. In ours there is, Myself, [Elick] Williams1, Barry F, A Hunt Billy [Waters?]2 Bill Sharp3 John Fishback4, P Crowl5 Tom Hooker6, & several more. We are right having Crowl in our mess.

It is a splendid place here early in the morning, & evening. Nights it is awful cold. The Potomac is right in sight of our camp, or in sight of where I write. It is no peace to write in Camp so much confusion. I asked Crowl what I should say for him, he says tell them we are all in to it here, he is busy as a Bee. The Boys are all well, not one of them have been sick, though & [ ] afraid bottle of medicine, that Father got of Huff. it is just the thing for the [Diarreah].

Hoping to hear from you soon

1? Williams, 2d, Alexander B.–age,19 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. D, 20 Aug 1862; wounded in action, 14 Oct 1863, at Bristoe Station, VA.; promoted corporal, 1 Apr 1864; sergeant, no date; captured in action, 22 Jun 1864, at Petersburg, VA.; died, 17 Sep 1864, while a prisoner of war. Commissioned, not mustered, second lieutenant, 20 Jul 1864, with rank from 16 Jun 1864, vice E.Van Dervere, killed in action.
2 Waters, William–age,20 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. D, 20 Aug 1862; discharged for disability, 28 Feb 1864, at Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, VA.
3Sharp, William W.–age,21 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Died, 7 Nov 1862, at Chicago, IL.
4 Fishback, John P.–age,21 Enrolled 9 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Mustered in as corporal, Co. D; promoted sergeant major, 1 Sep 1863; wounded in action, 6 May 1864, at The Wilderness, VA.; mustered in as first lieutenant, Co. H, 4 Dec 1864.
5? Crowell, Jr., Solomon–age,18. Enlisted 5 Aug 1862 at Palmyra to serve three years. Discharged for disability 15 Jun 1863.
6 Hooker, Thomas–age,19 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Wounded in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.; captured in action, 22 Jun 1864, at Petersburg, VA.; died, no date, while a prisoner of war.

Civil War timeline:
August 29 to 30: Pope’s Campaign: At the second battle of Bull Run, Union general John Pope was defeated by 55,000 troops under Stonewall Jackson. After Pope’s retreat to Washington, Lincoln relieved him of his command.

Tags :

August 31, 1862 – Camp Beardsly

Camp Beardsly
Harpers Ferry Va
Aug 31st 1862

Dear Father,

I received your letter from home and was glad to hear from you all, so soon,

Yesterday I received the Tribune. If you would Just as soon send me the weekly papers the Republican & Democrat I would much rather have them, as I see the New York papers the next morning after they are printed. The News Boys bring them into camp every morning at 6, so we are not much behind you as regards news.

I think this week there will be change of officers, Non Commissioned of course Our 2nd Lieutenant Granger1 from Sodus, was taken sick at Auburn, and could not come with us & I think it will be doubtful if he comes at all, if not that will [suit] me. The Captain told one of our Boys that there was to be a change in the corporals. We have two from Lyons that are regular Sap heads not fit for any Office, they are to be reduced or brought down lower, I am certain that I shall not, as I have been called on for duty several times when it was not my turn,

I have been Corporal of the Guard twice & Copr. of the Picket today, three one week, considering there are eight Corporals. The other day I was Corporal of the Guard, there was one over me & one under me The Officer of the Guard put me no. one, as he said I knew more about the work & gave me the change of the Guard.

Today Rank Corporal of the Picket Guard, Stationed of the Winchester Road, about three miles out [ ] responsible of the Posts, as men have been Shot at several times lately, here. I reported my men first and my place was Guarding one of the streets in the Village but I asked to have it changed to this place, where there would be something to do.

I have [found] Picket duty in the night is that to allow no one to pass us or cross the Track, If they refuse to stop when Hailed to take them Prisoners and bring them to the Ferry, Yesterday some of our boys brought in a Contraband, he was taken to the Colonels tent. He says the Jacksons Forces are within 5 miles of the Ferry, scouring the woods.

This I know that within a quarter of a mile of our camp there are Gurillas, as Signal lights are seen every night. All that separates the mountain from us is a little stream of water, I care not how full they are, I am not afraid.

We are within about 5 milesof Charl’stown, on the Winchester RR. I am sitting in my little tent now writing this, I just having relieved a man. The night is the time. A Picket’s duty is to lay down flat on his Stomach keep wide awaken not to whistle smoke speak out loud, and keep a good look out [slow], and lonely business.

On Friday night it was reported that Jackson was coming. 5 rounds of Cartridges was distributed to every man. I tell you some of the Guard was frightened that night every little noise disturbed them.

Enclosed I send you a Picture I have taken yesterday, It is a good picture, all but the Face it is all the kind they take here. I think I shall send Sarah one this week.

The boys think everything of Capt Holmes2 & Lieutenant [Moon], they gave them $65 to get each of them a Sword in N Y. Capt H cried when he thanked the Boys.

We see but little of Chaplain Brown3. There are almost a bushel of letters a day sent from this Regt short packets were distributed to us also stockings, Shirts & drawers. I shall not do my own washing as long as we are here & can get it done. I tell you we live all together different now. Mr Crowl is our Cook. Today we are going to a Farm house to get our dinner, it will be a change. Hoping to hear from you soon with love to Maggie Rosa Charlie & Mother

I remain

The boys all well
T Hooker has been sick

1? Granger, Erastus M.–age,?? Enrolled 7 Aug 1862 at Auburn to serve three years. Mustered in as second lieutenant, Co. D, 20 Aug 1862. Killed in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.

2 Sebastian D. Holmes  September 9, 1862 August 15, 1862 Discharged June 27, 1864.

3John N. Brown  September 9, 1862 August 15, 1862 Mustered out with regiment June 3, 1865.

Tags :

September 1, 1862

Camp Beardsley
Harpers Ferry
Sep 1st

I got a little too late for the mail this morning so, I concluded to write a little more. After writing my letter yesterday A couple of Contrabands came into our camp from Lowdon. Jackson was impressing all of the Negroes into the service so they concluded to run for their lives, I suppose according to the Articles of war they are free as their masters have taken up Arms against the U S.

We had a lovely time last night there was four of us, 2 on & 2 off every hour, We were right at the foot of a large mountain, covered with Trees and bushes. Our Officers came up twice to see if we were attending our duty & try & run our Guard, but could not come in. Our orders was to fire into every squad of men, as there was no telling which moment we might be attacked, nor from what quarter. I tell you it made us watchful. The countersign was only given to me, so it kept me up nearly all the time.

I heard yesterday, from a member of the 126 Regt. an [Iowa] Company, that Mary & Elizabeth Graves were both [Married]. I [meet] some from all [parts] that I know.

I [guess] you may send me a little money, as our poor living at first took more of my money. It is very warm here today, they have no rain here for two months, so it is very dry & dusty.

We brought in the Contrabands today, all the boys flocked around to see them come in, asking them all sorts of questions. One of them brought in my Knapsack. The boys thought that I was sensible having a [waiter].

While writing this, we are having a regular old soaker, the water is running all over the Tent so that we have to move all our Baggage.

Yesterday the Orderly Seargent of our Company, was reduced to 5th Corporal, Pulver1 was his name, the 5th corporal was reduced to the Ranks. I am satisfied that there will be more changes. I never saw any one more at home than Elick Williams & Barney [Francisco]2, they are at home any where, The Colonel yesterday, read the Rules and articles of War and of our Camp, over 140, how is a man to remember all these

Hoping to hear
from you

Who were “contrabands”?

1 Pulver, Charles A.–age,30 Enlisted 30 Jul 1862 at Sodus to serve three years. Promoted corporal, no date; discharged, 18 Dec 1863, at Chicago, IL.
2? Francisco, Byron–age,19 7 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Captured in action, 1 Dec 1863, at Mine Run, VA.; paroled, no date; mustered out, 7 Jul 1865, at Elmira, NY.
Tags :

September 6, 1862

Garibaldi Brigade
Camp Beardsly
Harpers Ferry Va
Sep 6th

Dear Father

After writing to Charlie, yesterday, telling him that we should soon be into action, little did I think how near we were to it. At three PM yesterday we had orders to pack our Knapsacks, strike our Tents, & get ready to march at a moments notice. You can Imagine the confusion, of 1000 men getting ready to move at a moments notice, At 4,30 we marched to the mess house to get 24 hours Rations of hard Crackers, at 5,30 we bid farewell to our Camp Ground, Marching about a mile west of our former Ground, on to a very high hill commanding the whole of the place. It was the most wearisome of all the marches it was so warm.

Our Brigade is to be called the Garibaldi Brigade. As we stand now, on our right, is the 60th Vermont Vols, the 126 N Y S V], on our Front the 8th N Y Cavalry. On our Right the 113th N Y S V, the Garibaldi Cavalry and some other Troops that I do not know the No of,

Last night when we arrived at our present Camping ground, we were drawn up in a Line of Battle, all our Guns were lowered, & we were ordered to sleep near enough to our Arms to seize them at a moments notice. We then Camped out with our Overcoats on & our Blankets over us, It was not so very bad if there was a heavy [ ], This morning we had a good appetite for our Crackers and water. I was Appointed Corporal of the New Guard this morning, but was excused, & was very glad to be, Now we are laying around, some writing, some singing & some reading All trying to take it cool.

The reason we left our former position it was reported that the Rebels were coming up the Valley, in force, how true it is I can not tell, but this I know There was Shells fired into our Camp Ground last night. I think we shall have our hands full very soon now, things look like it now.

Sunday 2 PM. As I could get no chance to send this yesterday, I concluded to fill it up till I get a chance. We have had no mail communiction with Baltimore in several days On account of some Rail Road Bridge, I think. This morning we were drawn up into line, for Inspection, We were Introduced to our Brigadier General Colonel [ ], A Frenchman I think, as he talks very broken. He Complimented us very highly, also our Colonel, He said that led on by such a Colonel as ours we could not help but successful, He said he was proud to have such a Regt in his Brigade. After the Inspection we marched down to meeting, together with the 8th Ohio. This Regt, commenced with 1050 men & have now not more than 800, having lost all of those men in Battle, they are a rough looking set, Almost all Germans.

Chaplain Brown preached us a short sermon. He looks like Quite a Military man with his Sword & Sash. There has been a great many Axidents [sic] since we have been here, owing a great deal to carelessness. For instance a Boy next to our tent, this noon was cleaning his Gun, when carelessly lifting it, it went off, discharging the Ram Rod through the Tent. It was a wonder no one was hurt. One or two have broken their arms. And one man in the 126 Regt, cut his throat the other night, because he heard that, the Girl that he was engaged to be married to had been married, since he left.

I have got a pretty Position now, this morning I was appointed one of the Color Guarding the Colors & the Color Bearer. The Color Bearer, is Seargent in Co C, he had been in the Army 15 years, he is the man that drills us in the morning at the Officers Drill.

The report that, the Rebels were coming here, arose from this, Gen Siegel, crossed the Potomac about 10 miles east of here, at the Point of Rock, with 30,000 men I shall not be surprised if we get marching orders from here very soon, It was reported that we had got, but I do not believe it. I am sure I do not care, how soon, all I want is to get to work. I think our Regt has done Nobly, as [far] Drilling goes. I know that I have learned a great deal. This is a rough sort of a life but I am not sorry that I came here, I expected some privations, and should have been disappointed if we did not have some.

A man by the name of John Dyer, dropped out of the Ranks this morning, I think he was Sun Struck. he is now very sick, the Doctor & Chaplain are both with him. He is an Irishman I think from Lyons. I am very glad that I have kept so well, I think my Sickness in Auburn helped me. Yesterday we pitched our tents & are again Quite comfortable again. I am now laying in, my tent, my Boots and stockings off & coat, with my Blanket spread out, my Portfolio on my Knapsack, writing, with a nice cool breeze.

There is one trouble about this life, there is no Sunday[s] To be sure, all the Drilling we have today is [?]Inspection at 8,30 AM Dress Parade 6,15. I would give a great deal if Charlie had come with me now, I think he could fare better, than I thought he could, our Drummer is the poorest in the Company.

Please send me my Razor & Brush when you send me any things, as I need to shave the boys. Send me an old Tooth Brush to clean my Buttons with & if you have a chance let me have one of those papers of Cleaning Powder in the Shed, to clean my Gun. I do not think of any thing else.

It has been reported for several days that we have marching orders Cincinatti [sic] Ohio Soldiers, this I very much [in] doubt. Today one of our men was shot in the legs by the carelessness of one of the Guard. Tonight the Colonel put a stop to that he has forbid any private Fire arms to be carried, at all, To night we were on Battallion [sic] drill from 3 to 5, the Colonel told us that we did better, for the time that we have been drilled than any Regt that he has seen. It is reported that 60,000 Rebels are on the way here. I dont believe it.

Write soon
Love to all
Maggie Rosa Mother
& Charlie


In the Civil War timeline

September 4th to 9th: Lee headed North towards Harpers Ferry with an invasion force of 50,000 troops.

Tags :

September 11, 1862 – Bolivan Heights

Bolivan Heights
near Harpers Ferry
Sep 11th /62

Dear Father

I have written you two letters Since we left our other Camp Ground but can not tell whether you, have received them or not, as I have received no mail from home in over a week. I have felt quite anxious to hear from you, since I heard that it was reported that we, were cut to pieces.

I can not see how, such a report as that got started, unless it was that we were surrounded. Even then they could cause but little harm, as we have some very powerful Batteries, stationed so as to Guard the peace from every point. To be sure they can cut off our supplies for 2000 Men, then I think something will be done. I am but little afraid of being attacked here. We are on a very high hill & on only one side can they get at us.

It was reported last night that Jackson was retreating towards the Ferry. We are expecting every moment today to be called out to go on a Scout,

Day before yesterday two of the men, belonging to this Co. went out for water & have either been taken Prisoner[s] or have deserted & yesterday Billy Waters1, disappeared, very mysteriously. He was out all the night before on Picket with the company & did not come in when the rest did. I think today we shall search for him. I am in hopes he will come back, as I lent him my watch, not thinking but that he would come back. Mr. Francisco has money of his, & if he has deserted, I think I can get it off him. I value it at $25, as I had been offered that for it. I am in hopes we shall hear from him.

I have been sick for the past two or three days, with the Bloody Dysentry, it has brought me down so I am quite weak. The Captain & both Lieutenants have been very kind to me, Liet Moor sent me some [s ] Berries, which tasted very good. Today Crowl is pretty sick, he is troubled with the same thing. Hardly any one in the camp had escaped it, I think it owing to the change of water & Diet. I tell you I miss the good living at home, especially since I have been sick. No Pies Cakes Puddings or any delicacies.

There is some talk of promoting two men out of the Ranks to fill the 21st & 5th Corporals place, that have been reduced & have resigned. If it is done & I am not promoted I shall resign, most certainly, I am sure I shall not serve under them. So the next time I write I may be a Private.

The only thing we have to trouble us now is not getting the mail. The Rebels have planted Batteries between here & the Point of Rocks & at [ ] along the Rail Road so we have no communication with Baltimore, & I hope it will soon be removed.

We are now busy here cutting down the woods in [this] [B ], & throwing up Breast Works, this I think is all nonsense, as I do not believe we will stay here long. I hope not it is such an out of the way place.

Everything is such old style. You should see the Engines on the Rail Road. The Engineers house is right up on top of the Engine, they are the most awkward looking things you have ever seen. I had a talk with one of the Engineers, about his miserable looking Engines, he thought I was Green he said they were the latest Style, I told him he was just 50 years behind the times. I told him that a New York State Engineer would not disgrace themselves enough to run one of them.

And their Teams here are all four hoses. A Darky sits on the left horse of the 2nd team & has one line reaching to the right horse first team Guiding both teams by that one line I don’t know what this [war] business is coming too, they seem to be doing nothing at all.

I have not been homesick at all until since I have been Sick. Then I missed the home diet. What does mother think of going to England, this fall. I suppose you will be at conference before this reaches you, I should like to be there,

Col Winters Division from [ ] Martins] [ ] bring, around here tonight We are now expecting an attack. Sat morn Spent quite a sick night could keep nothing on my stomach. We can hear firing in the distance this morning, can not tell where nor what it is

With Love to all
hoping to hear from you soon

Please mention about my watch to Francisco. Yesterday a search was made for Waters & it is pretty positive that he has gone to Ohio

Why were there outbreaks of Dysentery among the soldiers?

This week in the Civil War:
from Blood, Tears and Glory

1 Waters, William–age,20 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. D, 20 Aug 1862; discharged for disability, 28 Feb 1864, at Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, VA.
Tags :

September 15, 1862

Camp Beardly
Harpers Ferry Va
Co D 111 Regt
Sep 15th

Dear Charlie

I will now give you a little history of our life here.  It is, Roll call at 5, breakfast 5:30, Drill from 6, to 7, 30, Drill from 9 to 10, for Non Commissioned Officers.  Dinner at 12 PM, Squad Drill from 4 to 5,30, Dress Parade at 6, 15, lasting generally 45 minutes after that supper, Roll Call 8,30 PM Lights extinguished at 9 PM

So you see we have enough to do, it is rather tedious, handling Gun’s. For the past two or three day’s we have been drilling with the Manual of Arm’s.  This is not near as hard as Marching,  though it is hard enough.

Now as to fare Our Breakfast is Crackers Coffee, and pork or Beef.  Dinner Beef or Rice Soup, & Crackers,  Supper Tea Crackers & Cold Meat,  We will have Rice & Molasses, as soon as we get something to cook it in, that will go pretty good.  As it is, it is rather tedious, The Coffee & Tea is good but we miss the Milk,

There has been a considerable excitement here for the past few days, We have had orders for the past few nights, to sleep on our Arms, Cartridges Boxes & everything all ready to get up at a moments notice. Yesterday the First Maryland Cavalry returned here, having been driven back, towards Winchester, They returned with out hats, [ S ling] along all in confusion. Colonel Segoin, said that, if we were attacked, he would not draw us up in a line of Battle, but let us fight on our own [ ]. We could do nothing any other way, I am afraid some would run, when we got into action.

They are all talking about which way Jackson would come, that is all we hear.  For my part it troubles me but a little.

Father asked me, about my getting the Mail.  We get Mail every day at three in the afternoon, the Captain distributes it as soon as it comes in,  As to papers I should prefer the Lyons Papers, I see the Baltimore & Phil, Papers every day.

I should not be surprised if we went into action, very soon. There are a great many Troops stationed here now.  A great many from Winchester.  I should think there was 15, or 20,000.  It was quite a Sight to see, the [ tting] Drill. The 8th New York Cavalry, is here now,  There is some in that from Lyons I think.  We are fast here, here now, there is no such thing as getting a pass to go down in the Village.

Capt Holmes is Officer of the Day, today, Seargt Granger was here yesterday, received a letter from home, by him.  It is very warm here days, & very cold nights.

When any thing [occurs] I will keep you posted.  I hope you [will do the same] by me, Some of the Boys are very [discontented here], [ ] & are not [going to] make the best of every thing. One of the boys out of the [P ] Co, Died yesterday.   Crowl, [Miss] Beldens Beaux arrived here safe yesterday.  There are over 70 Boys out of this Regt in the Hospital.  Almost all have had the Diareeah,  I have been quite well,  No one out of our Mess have been sick, except T Hooker1.  he is well now.  All the Boys are well

Love to all

1 Hooker, Thomas–age,19 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Wounded in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.; captured in action, 22 Jun 1864, at Petersburg, VA.; died, no date, while a prisoner of war.
Tags :

September 16, 1862 – Elmira

Barracks No 3
Elmira Sep 16th
10 AM

Dear Father

I arrived at Camp all night yesterday, at 11,30 AM, & had no trouble at all about being over time. things are moving along the same as usual here. We have now got about 200 men here & many more are coming in. Yesterday the Dft’d men of Elmira were examined so we soon shall have some of them,

Things look but little like leaving here now Genl [Quinby], told one of the Officers that we should stay here most of the Winter. This I can’t see. I heard some of the Officers talking yesterday, about Recruiting, they said if we dont recruit to fill up, That these men would be sent to the Towns where their Co’s were raised & open Recruiting Offices, This would suit me, tip top. I do not think men would be sent from the Army, to recruit, while we were here. Our Doing it would save a great deal expense.

I do not know when I shall go to the City, probably tomorrow. We are having easier times now, not near as much Duty, If you should come to Watkins to Preach, I can get a 2 Day Pass & come down, The Boys are getting them often now.

I think we shall get our Pay, tomorrow on Saturday, things look like it now Mr Hollitt did not come up on the Train yesterday, Today I am resting out as I have got pretty tired in my last weeks running around. I shall expect to hear from [you?] soon. I will write to [Clifton] after Tuesday

Hoping you are all well, with love to all


Tags :

Manley Stacey

born October 29, 1842

died December 26, 1863

Written during the battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863

"When we camped last, we could see the wounded coming in, those that were able to walk, and the cavalry horses coming in riderless. This showed us that something was going on...I think this will be an awful battle very soon and of course we are in for it...It is a sad sight to see the wounded brought in on stretchers, the poor boys all covered with blood & as pale as death.

"Last night at 4 PM we were ordered to march and form in Line of battle on our left. After a great deal of confusion, we got formed and then we were ordered to advance, right in the face of the rebel guns who were firing their grape and canisters into us by wholesale...After a great deal of marching and counter marching, we were ordered to charge on a rebel battery. We were now right in front of our canons, advancing on their guns, the rebel sharpshooters in our rear picking off our officers. This was an awful time the shells taking the men down by ranks. While we were marching, a man was shot, and the Blood was spilling all over my face, it perfectly Blinded me.

"At 1 PM we were shelled by 100 guns, all concentrated on the force supporting the battery. There we laid behind a stone wall, the shells passing over us and killing the men all around me. Three men were killed and thrown across me, covering me with blood. While we were laying here, a shell struck a stone in the wall and killed a man throwing the man across my legs and the stone striking me in the back & doubling me up.

"We have got about 18 men now in the Company fit for duty and 150 in the Regiment. We went in the fight with over 400, and have yet now 150."

The Letters

Recent Comments

    Friends and supporters