Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

September 23, 1862 – Camp Douglas

Sep 23
Camp Douglas Ill
Co D 111 Regt

Dear Father

I suppose you would like to hear a little from me, again.

Last Tuesday night we had orders to cook three day rations, during the night. The best of it was, our three Days rations consisted of one ration of Beef & one of Potatoes. At 3,30 wednesday morning we got up & prepared to march, & got the best breakfast we could under the circumstances.

Quite an amusing incident occurred in the morning before we left, Some of the Boys, got a limb of a tree & stuck loaves of Bread, & some of our hard crackers, they then formed in line, & marched around the Ground to the musick [sic] of the Drum, it was a good sell on our quartermaster, as he did not furnish us all our rations.

We left the Camp about 6,30 for Annapolis, there we took the Boat for Baltimore. After a very warm & uncomfortable ride we arrived at Baltimore about 2,30 PM, then after some delay marche’d to the Balt & Harrisburg RR Left Balt at 9 AM, There I made friends with the Fireman, & fired for him 30 or 40 miles, had a good time with him, We arrived at Harrisburg about 6 AM, There we changed Engines & started for Pittsburg [sic]

I enjoyed myself very much on the trip riding on top of the cars, from H to Pittsburg is a very hilly country. the Road runs along the bank of the Susquehanah River. At [Atoona] we changed Engines & staid there one or two hours. Here the Citizens brought us out some sandwiches & Coffee which tasted good to us, after our rations of salt Pork & Crackers. From there we rode all night & arrived at Pittsburg, about 5 AM,

There we marched to a large hall and had our Breakfast, of Coffee Crackers Sausages Cheese, & Pickels [sic], furnished by the Citizens. Then took the Pittsburg Fort Wayne & Chicago RR for Chicago. After we got started, I got another Engine & fired again for a few miles.

At New Brighton the Ladies turned out, en masse, & brought us [pris] cakes, apples & grapes. A little maid brought me a nice Loaf of Bread, already spread with Butter, I left my Card with her, At every little place as soon as the Train stopped, the Ladies Brought us Bread, [Pris] & Apples. One thing is certain we are used better here, than we were even in our own State, Rode all night again, & got on the Engine 54 & fired a while to get an appetite for my Hard Tack, as the Boys call the Crackers,

We arrived at Fort Wayne, about 9 AM. Then I got off, to have a good wash, There I met a young lady, who invited three or four of us over to get Breakfast charging us nothing, left another card, We left Fort Wayne about 12, 30 AM, At Wausau the Ladies turned out again & Brought us some good things, Some of the Young Ladies brought some warm Tea & Coffee, for the Sick, The Boys were all taken sick all to [sic] once, so as to get some tea,

In the afternoon passed over some [ ] We arrived at Chicago about 10,30 last night, then marched up to our present Camp, arriving here about 12 AM. This Camp they say will Accommodate 15000, men it is a splendid place, if it was clean, you can imagine how clean it would be 8000 Rebel Prisoners living here the last week.

It is the strangest thing thing [sic] in the the world to me their sending us to this Camp so far west, It has been report [sic] in Camp for a week past that we were going to Minnesota to fight the Indians. I should much prefer that to remaining here, I think we will be exchanged, before long, that is if they exchange any more, which I hope they will,

We have lost 8 or 10 men since we left Lyons, some of these were left on the Road, & will probably be sent on, Waters has not been heard from yet. I hope he comes to Lyons that you will get my watch. They say here now that, we are going to Drill, tomorrow I do not see how we can drill According to our Parole, but then we can see nothing here, nor know nothing but what we see. This is the greatest place for Rumors, everything [heard] something,

Hoping to hear from you soon, & that you will send me $5,00 & oblige


Love to all
Maggie Rosa Charlie
& Mother

Write soon

This week in the Civil War:
September 22, 1862: Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln

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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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