Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

September 21, 1862 – Camp Parole

Annapolis Ma
Camp Parole
Sep 21st

Dear Father,

I take this opportunity of writing you a letter again. We have had a lovely old time since our march from the Ferry. That was one of the roughest time that I ever had, talking about marches that was a rough one. After I wrote you at Monocacy Junction, we left the next morning, for Baltimore, as we thought but it turned out it was for Annapolis.

The first days march from Frederick, towards night I fell out could go no farther. I felt so tired that I could hardly move. The next morning we got up at 4 AM & caught up with the Regt, We started again at 8 AM, & about 5 I fell out again, I could positively go no farther. The next morning 12 of us did not start with the Regt, we waited until it got cool & they walked about 4, miles, then hired a two horse lumber waggon [sic] to take us to Elliotts Mills 19 miles, then we staid until 9 PM, getting our supper, We had a tip top time & found it a great deal easier than walking. It cost us [125] a piece

We got to Elliotts Mills about 3 AM, then we laid until 7 AM, There we got a pass for 12 to go by cars to Annapolis, by Cars, Saturday we went to the Relay House got there about 8, staid until 4 PM, from there to Annapolis Junction, staid there all night, coming on here yesterday morning, getting here about 6 hours in advance of the Regt.

Today it is reported that we are going to Camp Douglas Illinois, & again it is reported that [each] Regt is going to its own State. That is almost to good to be [true]. It seems that the Government is giving the Cold Shoulder to us because we are prisoners, [Our] hang to march 125 miles. right on the line of the Balt & Ohio RR, & now sending us to Chicago.

One thing is certain that we will be violating our parole to take up arms, I should not be surprised if they send us to the Frontier to Fight the Indians, It makes but little difference to me where we go if they only use us well. If they only leave us some where & not keep us moving all the time, it would answer.

This morning, a lot of us boys went down the Chespeak [sic] bay to go swimming, there we got lots of Oysters, all we cold eat & had a Salt water Bathe,

The only trouble with our marching is we get no chance to [march][?]. I shall be glad when we get settled so that I can get some news from you. It is so long since I have heard form you, When you write please send some money in small bills As we can not live on our Rations, alone, it is impossible.

I saved several things to bring home to Charlie expecting to come home, of course if we were paroled but I guess we will get cheated. I am better off than most Boys. I have got all my things & threw nothing away & most of the Boys did, some threw everything away but the clothes they have on,

Today the Boys had a regular row on the ground.  the Boys tore down a Sutters [tend] & destroyed & carried off $3000 worth, it served them right. I told you not to send me any Tribunes, I am sorry because any thing in the Shape of news is cut off. I suppose I must have some mail in Baltimore but I do not know whether we shall get it or not it is doubtful.

Today all is Excitement in camp, all wondering where we are going too [sic] & what is going to be done. I send this letter by Mr Cookingham, father to our [2d] Sergeant. Hoping to hear from you very soon when we get settled I will write as soon as we do

Love to all
Maggie Rosa Mother
Charlie & Yourself


(do you [stay] at Lyons this Year)


Camp Parole
Sep 21st
3 PM


I send you by Mr. Cookingham, a Cap Box full of Caps, three or four Cartridges & a Grape Shot. I had two or three pound Cartridges of powder, Cannon powder, for you, I will keep them in case I do come, I had a [ring] made from a mans bone in his [arm ], at the battle of Seven Pines, it was a Union Man. I have seen a great many things that I would like to have brought you, if I could, I shall have a seven Barrel Revolver for you when I get home I also send you a Confederate Bill.

If I had known that they would not have searched us prisoners at the Ferry, I would have brought more things along.  I said in my last (next to last) that I was sorry that you did not come with me, but when it came to the march, I tell you I was glad, you never could have stood it,

I said in my last to Father, that I had got my watch back from Waters. Then I expected to get it, He was in town & had shown it to some of the Boys & said he was going to give it to me. He did not come near me, & I began to think he meant to cheat me. If Francisco is willing I wish he would keep $25 for me, of his money unless he returns the watch.

Charlie I tell you, it was rather exciting times the day before we surrendered, the way the balls whistled around our head’s was a caution. I have seen a great many high times since I enlisted & a great many good times Building up a big Camp Fire at night, & laying around it smoking & Singing. I have found boys that I know from all parts here, the other day I [saw] [D ] [Billos], he is Sergeant in one of the Companies in the 126th Regt, I have also seen boys from Ohio & all over.

I wish you had been with us the other day, when we left the Regt. We went into a Secesh House & got our dinners 7 of us, they began to show what they was & began to curse the Union, they charged us 30 cts a piece, we went off & paid them nothing, told them to charge it to Uncle Sam.  I tell you the Secesh have to suffer, when the Boys [find] [it out]. Nothing does me more good than to go right [in] [&] ransack everything. The only thing that made me feel bad was having to bury our boys at the Ferry I had to see to that.

I think it is most probable that I shall get a furlough to come home where ever we go, at least I hope, so. There has been a great deal of talk of sending usto Minesota [sic] to Fight the Indians.  I will write again as soon as we get settled.



What is a Secesh?   A Confederate soldiers or sympathizer

Camp Parole

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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."

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