Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 21, 1862

Camp Douglas
Co D 111 Regt NYSV
O 21st, 62
Dear Father

News is rather scarce this week, so I have but little to write.

I have been expecting Mr Gavitt & am getting anxious to find out about my Furlough.  Yesterday I got a pass for the City, & got a Dozen Photographs taken, I do not think you will object to these, they look tip top I think, all I want is a little Bill to pay for them with.

While down in the City, I went to the Top of the Court House, which is 192 Steps from the Ground.  There we have a Splendid view of the City & [Prairies] for miles around.  From there I went to the Engine Houses of course & had an offer to work I was offered $40 a month to fire a Coal Burner, Called the Lucifer, a splendid looking Engine.

I had a pretty good view of the City yesterday, walking all around.

Yesterday our Regt together with the 126th had orders to Drill, from 10 to 12 AM & from 1 to 3 PM.  About two thirds of our Regt refused to turn out some of the Companies did not turn out at all,  The boys all say they have no right to drill & will not. 

Chap Brown says we are to be exchanged right off, and I think we shall be [?] present appearances, I had hoped we should have the privilege of going home this winter, but I guess we shall be disappointed, I think it will be very doubtful if I can come home on a furlough even, for if there is any thoughts of our being Exchanged, I am sure we will not get home. I am not saying what I know, but what I hear & can not tell whether it is true or not.

I wish I could think as you do that the war was soon to be ended, from present appearances, I think it is further off than ever.  Do you think those Pettitions [sic] to the Governor, will do any good, would we have any power to get us home.  Nothing would do us more good than the Order Fall in with Knapsacks for New York, there would be some confusion.

They are going to take 100 men from this Regt every week to stand on Guard.  The Boys protest against this also.  The Garibaldi’s when they put them on Guard, they tore down the Fence [& lit] a Fire & Burnt up the Guns, & now they carry around, barrels & some bayonets.

6 PM.  We have Drilled twice today & but had no Dress Parade on account of the wind.  Our Ground is very Sandy & when the wind blows, it is very unpleasant.

I got your letters from home today & one [?] to Annapolis, with a $2,00 [?] in which will pay for my Photographs, which I shall hope to send home by Mr Gavitt.  I am glad Mr Gavitt is coming so soon & I tell you the First will taste very good yes a little better than that.

You tell me to be kind to Billy Waters, you do not know him as well as I, there is no danger but what he will live. 

There is no one that wishes more than I, that we will go to New York.  If there is any such a thing, I will telegraph, as soon as we start.

I hope that is so about my being promoted to Warrens place, as I do not think they used me just right, I know I can do better than he.

About 8 PM a Fire broke out just back of our Headquarters.  You may be sure there was some excitement, We moved all the things out of the Majors Chaplains & Quartermasters, but fortunately the fire did not reach here.  Some of the Artillery boys swore every Barracks on the Ground should come down, so last night we had double Guard on all around.  You may be sure it is very pleasant laying here & thinking every noise is the cry of fire.

I will write again


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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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