Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 6, 1862

Camp Douglas
Co D 111 Regt
Oct 6th
Chicago Illinois

Dear Father

I guess I have received all the letters, from home, except the one directed to me at Annapolis with $2,00 enclosed which I hope to get yet, In your last letter you said that, it seems to be a settled thing, that we are to go Minesota [sic], I hope if this is so. You will come out here yourself as you can come for $11,00 2nd Class.

I hardly know what to send home for, as if we are on a march as we surely will be if we go out west, it will be only a trouble. But if we stay here, a can or two of Preserves would go tip top to eat on Bread. Also you may send me a pair of woolen Stockings, as the Army Stockings are so large and coarse. I have not worn mine yet. Cotton socks would be too cool for the west. If we go West, a Cap with a fur Band around it to turn down. I should not want it if we do not go west. I do not think I should need any Bandages.

You asked me if I lost any thing on our march. I lost nothing on the march, but a Blanket, I picked up another one, on my last days march, I lost my Havensack, the night of the Battle but got another one, Just as good. Some of the Boys, when they got to Annapolis, had got nothing, literally nothing. They as soon as they got tired threw away every thing, some on the first day’s march, Hundreds of dollars worth could have been picked up after us. Yesterday we [drew] some [men] Blankets, a great deal better than the others.

I have kept a full Diary, & recorded everything of interest since I enlisted. I find it a Capital thing to refer two [sic] especially when writing.   I have written two letters to George, but have got no answer, yet.  You asked me what papers I would like.  I would like the Lyons Republican & Occasionaly [sic] the N.Y Tribune, the Republican by all mean’s.

I have seen the Paragraphs from the letter’s that I wrote you, the boys have been reading them & wondering who wrote them.  You made one mistake, in the letter I wrote about the Battle, saying that if I was ever afraid it was then, that is a mistake.  You ask me to write all the paticulars, I am sure I write everything I can think about. Some times I think too much, Though it is not much trouble, nothing else to do.

I have thought of one other thing a small bottle of Pickles they would come good. We have been having lovely times for the past week, The boys seeming to think that because they are Paroled that they can do as they like, they have tore down Sutlers Stands.  I do not blame them for that as the Sutlers called them Harpers Ferry Cowards, 2100 boys from the Camp, ran the Guard on Friday.  That is a thing, I should despise myself if I did.

If I can not get out legally I will not get out at all.  I got a pass on Friday & went around the City, Chicago is a great deal cleaner City than I supposed, Some Splendid Buildings.  We find Sutlers things Cheaper here, than any where we have been before At the Ferry, we had to pay 5 cts a slice for Bread 25 cts for a Pres, 28 cts a lb for Butter, 10 cts a Quart for milk 25 cts a pound for Sugar.   Here every thing is Cheaper but Fruit, Peaches 5 cts a piece Apples 2 for 5 cts Grapes 25 cts a pound & everything else proportion.  You may be sure that we can enjoy but very few of these luxuries.

last night, Sunday, the boys had another row on the Ground, & tore down over 60 rows of fence around the Camp Ground.  This is very foolish of them as [it] only keeps us in closer confinement.  The boys heard our Major say yes today that we would not be exchanged this winter & that we would not stay here, so what will be done is hard telling.  It troubles me but little, as I am contented any where.  About Furlough’s Some of the boys from the other Companies are getting them for 20 days.   According to the Articles of war we are entitled to Furloughs a year of 20 day’s each, we have hardly been in Service yet, 

You spoke in a former letter, about my not going on Picket, oftener than I can help it,  Do you think that [I] shall stay in camp, when I get such a good chance to get out, I like the duty, the more because it is so exciting.

I can think of nothing more of interest to write this morning, as often as I find any thing of interest, I will write & keep you posted

Hoping to hear from you soon


Who were Sutlers?  They were men who sold a variety of goods and stock out of wagons. They set up pretty much to sell to soldiers, and very often exploited them by charging exorbitant prices. It was an uneasy relationship between the soldiers and the Sutlers and conflicts often occured.

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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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