Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 14, 1862

Camp Douglas
7 AM Oct 14th

Dear Father

I think if all the reports are true, that our troubles have not commenced yet. It is reported that we have got the Small Pox in Camp, Three men were taken from the 126 Regt (And that lays right by us) to the Hospital, that had got it. if this is so, I pity the boys, one thing is certain [I] shall not be afraid of it, And if the boys in our Co got it, I can nurse them, but you may be sure I do not like it well enough to nurse any one else.

I think we shall get one months pay this week this I know, And the Orderly told me that he thought we would go home then. Our Ajutant [sic] told the boys yesterday, that there was no use in the Boys Cleaning up the Barracks, as we were going to New York. Things look now as if we were about the move somewhere, And the most likely place for us to go is to our own State.

One thing is certain, if the Small Pox break out in Camp & spreads much A great many of the Boys would leave.

Jessie Cooley & H [Ca ] left last night out of the 126 Regt for home, they bought Citizens Cloths.  I do not like that style.

Tuesday Oct 15 6 AM. Yesterday at 11 AM, I got a pass & went to mrs Stones to s[p]end, coming back about 5 PM, I have not enjoyed myself so well in a long time. As soon as we got there, I felt perfectly at home. I enjoyed my dinner very much. Mr Stone has a splendid place here in his house, he has, his Billiard Room, His Pictured [sic] Gallery & such splendid Drawing Room & Parlors, His place is about a mile & a half East of our Camp. I have got a Cordial Invitation to spend the day with them, every day I can get out,

Mrs Stone Comes on the Ground every day, in her Carriage with Jellies & such things for the Sick in the Hospital. All She seems to talk about or think is the Poor Soldiers.  Althea Yager, is with her & has been with her since April, I have not spent so pleasant a day since leaving home, Althea Say’s I am the only one in the Regt that She has seen, give the Military Salute when meeting Ladies. Mrs Stone wishes You if you come to Chicago to come there directly & make that your home while here, She says on (no) account will she consent to your Stopping any where else, I know you would feel at home.

Those things that I sent for at the Ferry I do not want now. It is truth, as I have since heard that they got the Small Pox at the General Hospital. if this prevails, I think the Boys would be justified in leaving.

I think I never told you the Motto given us to fight under. The Sunday night at the Ferry after the Fight, Brig D Utassi (D’Utassi), rode along our lines & said, My Boys You have two things to do tomorrow, Fight Like Braves and Die Like Christians.

At the time we did not expect to Surrender & expected to be engaged in an Awful Fight. When Utassi, told us we had Surrendered one of Co A’s Liets, McIntyre [ ] Palmyra, Drew his Sword from his Scabbard & would have [taken] it in too, had it not been for Segoine. Did I ever tell you that Segoine, said we were not Gentlemen, nothing but Soldiers, how do you think I felt then, & when he rode at the End of the Regt, on the march & Swore he would Shoot the first man that fell out, a great many such incidents as this, occurred to show what he was. Where was he the night of the Fight but staying under cover of the woods, while we were Fighting & then they said he was wounded, it is no such thing, if it was so, he fell down & the boys run over him,

Everything is quieting off Lately, if there is any such thing as our being paid off and discharged from the US Service I will Telegraph, Yesterday morning the Chicago Tribune said the latest Advices from Washington are that the Paroled Prisoners are to be soon Exchanged or Discharged into the State Service.

Love to all


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3 Comments so far ...

1. Beth Brabston


Your site is awesome. I teach 8th grade history and this site helps to bring the people of the time period to life!

I have been wondering about the spelling of Manley…the signature often looks like Manly w/o the “e.” Do you know for sure what the correct spelling is?

Comment on May 4, 2010 11:00 am
2. Administrator


Glad you enjoyed the site.

I’m confident that his name has the “e”. The adjutant general’s records show it with an “e”, and also the three letters form others wrote it as “Manley”.

His own writing and spelling was idiosycratic, or maybe typical of his time, which made these letters very difficult for me to transcribe at the beginning. There are other instances in the letters where he did not use the “e” in common words ending in “ey”. There are several other instances of similar misspellings or shortenings which may have been common in that time.


Comment on May 4, 2010 11:49 am
3. Administrator


I just checked back and was partly incorrect. In the letters from Althea Yaeger and L.M. Stout, they also seem also to write it as “Manly” without the “e”. When I have time, I’ll find the higher resolution scans and look more closely.

I’m still going with the “e” though.


Comment on May 4, 2010 11:59 am
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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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