Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 18, 1862

Camp Douglas
Co D 111 Regt NYSV
Oct 8th ’62

Dear Father

I wrote you on Friday last, that the boys were raising an insurrection. I think it is positive that some of the Paroled Prisoners started the Fire, the night before, On Friday night at Supper, were ordered to pack our Knapsacks, & get our things ready so that we could pick them up at a moments notice. we did not know but what our Barracks would be burned up next. It is very pleasant to think that the Roof over your head may be burned down during the night.

During the night the Boys tore down some new line Fence. I can not see what is in the Boys, nor how it can benefit them.

There was the last, that I heard from the General Hospital 7 cases of Small Pox. The boys all swear they will not stay here. I do not know what this will end in, I think the Government will have to do something or other and that very soon. They [seem] to move so slow. I wish they would do something & that right off

About half of the Guard Fence is torn down, & the Boys, go out & in when they choose, the Guard turning their backs when they see the Boys Coming.

I went up to see Douglas’s Grave yesterday afternoon. It was but a short distance from our camp & is in a pretty Shady place, but a few rods from the Lake. What seemed strange to me, there is no Tombstone.

This morning I went along the Lake Shore & along the the Illinois Central & inquired the wages of Engineers & Firemen. Fireman on Coal Burners get $40 a month & on wood Burners $35, So if I get discharged do not look for me home, I shall get a job here, as I could have got one this AM.

Mother seems to be down on our Colonel, I do not blame her, he is no Man.

I hope the Citizens of Lyons will hurry up the Petitions as the Boys are in an awful hurry to get home.

Sunday morning 6 AM. I received a good long letter from home yesterday, and am always glad to get one. If you were here about 12,30 PM when the Mail is distributed, & see the boys rush around the Orderly when he distributes the Mail, it would do you good.

Last night three of our men were detailed to Guard our Barracks against Fire, it was reported here that some of the [?]-[?] Boys, said they were going to burn every Barracks on the Ground. For my part I did not want to be burnt out.

Today at 9 AM we are going to have another Inspection. To be sure it does not last long, but who wants to be on duty every Sunday. It is very necessary to have the Inspection to see that the Boys keep themselves clean & keep their clothes clean, but then there is no use, in having them on Sunday.

How I would like to be home this morning, & get on a Citizens Shirt & go to meeting, but I cannot.

Charlie Cookingham, got a letter from home yesterday, which said that Mr Gavitt was coming either today or tomorrow, I hope this is so. I think I shall go out to Mrs Stones tomorrow, if it is pleasant, as I have such a Cordial invitation to come when I can, & enjoy my self tip top there.

Tuesday I am to have a Pass to go to the City, I think I shall get my Photographes [sic] taken then. They take Splendid ones here, for $2,00 a Dozen, the Size of Willis Vandermarks. If I had the money I would get a Large one You can get a large one here about 8 by 10 for a $1,00 & 50 cts for Negatives. I shall try something. I can get them taken with full Uniform on, as the Artist has full Equipments.

Now I have a word to say about our Hospital, & the Doctors. It is a saying here that as sure as a Boy goes into the Hospital that is the End of him. Doctor Hopkins1 is no more fit for the place than I am, all the medicine he gives is a little Quinine Opium & some other Trash which invariably brings the Boys right down. Some of the Boys have been in there, ever since they have been here & getting worse all the Time. I have yet to hear of a case that he has benefited. There is 89 cases, in the Hospital from our Regt, Yesterday 3 Died with the Typhoid Fever & we have got two or three men from our own Company that must Die next. It is a perfect shame that our Boys must be killed off at this rate.

Doctor H rides around the Ground, with his Buckskin Gloves on & his hair curled up, not caring whether the Boys live of Die. I never would believe before that more died in the Hospital than on the Battle Field, but now I know it. If you would go through our Hospital and see the boys Dying off, through nothing else but the want of better care, you would not wonder that Boys protest, against it. This thing is getting played out.

With love to Mother Maggie
& Rosa Charley

I am


I have got some little stones from the shore of Lake Erie for Rosa and Maggie

1 D. Stewart Hopkins  Comm: September 9, 1862 .  Promoted to surgeon 4th Delaware Vols. Feb 6, 1863

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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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