Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 29, 1862

Camp Douglass
Chicago Illinois
Co D 111 Regt NYSV
Oct 29th
2,30 PM

Dear Father

I have just received your long letter from home, for which I am much obliged. I should not have written to Capt Holmes, he does not deserve it, I think but little of him since he did that.  Precious likely that the boy’s that had things in the Trunk & especialy [sic] I could not get our things out.

You asked me about Billy Waters & about my Watch.  I lent him my Watch at the Ferry, the day He went on Picket with the Company.  He kept the watch until he got to Frederick, then he Traded it off, to get Money to come home with,  This Waters owns himself.  I am not sorry, because I got a good Price, for the Watch.  You can say all you choose, but they can not make me believe, but what he deserted.  I know how he felt & how he talked before that.  He always said he would be taken Prisoner & be Paroled & go home.  They did not do anything with him here.  I have heard that the Capt, tried to get him Court Martialed, but the Major, said there was no Cause.  He says he did not know that he had to report to Annapolis.

I am sorry Mother does not like the Photographs.  I am sure I could not have one taken with out it’s showing some of the Marks on my face.  As to my Eyes I did not look directly at the Camera & tried my best to get a good Picture. However I will not try any more, on any account Picture or no Picture.

I do not think it best for you to send me any thing else until I know what is to be done with us.  If we go to New York State, I shall most likely get a Furlough to come home for a Short time.  Our Colonel said to day that we were going Home that was Certain, I am sure every thing looks favorable now.  This I Know, the 126th NYSV, taken with us are cooking three days Rations preparing to leave. If they go why not we.

I think you are mistaken about my losing Flesh, since I have been in the Service, the Boys all say, that I am Stouter & have gained.

With regard to my Room, it is the Orderly’s room, but he did not occupy it, so I took convenient.

I do not know how, Brown can live with the Boys, An Officer can be Fined for Eating with them or for Drawing Rations from the U S.

I think a great deal of both Lieutenants & get along tip top with every one, until this last scrape which I can not forget, nor never will.  I made up my mind that I would not take any of the Doctors stuff and have not but once, it is worse than nothing.

We are not Drilling to day, as the Regt was on guard yesterday.  I take good care to get on Guard nights as to get rid of this Guard Duty.

You must not think that I am so lonely here, I can assure you that I have a great many good times & some times pretty lively ones.

how it stands, It think the Republicans would have a big Majority.

This Oct [30]th 6 AM.  Since I wrote the Above, things are looking a little more encouraging.  About one AM, we had a Barrel of Fresh Beef come & was ordered to cook it immediately.

The Chap says we are going to draw our pay this week & then the Chap thinks we are going to Auburn.  Capt Holmes says his opinion is that we shall see Home in the Course of a week.  Last night was the first night that I have slept in quite a while.  I think I am doing pretty well this week, writing a letter every day.  I shall continue to do so until we hear something definite, with regard to our going home.  Aleck has got his Furlough & is waiting now for Money to go home with, he feels good about it.  I wish I was in his place.

I let Chap Brown have, those [Minutes] last night he had not seen them.  I think I shall call on Mrs Stone again before I leave, at least I shall try to. I do not expect you will get as good a watch as I had before, but I would like a good one as you can get, Could you not get a good one at Fords in Rochester

Hoping to hear soon

I am


Tell Maggie that I shall hope to see her in a few days, & take a ride with her, in that Famous Rig.  I shall try to bring her something, also Rosa


(to Charlie)

Charles Henry Augustus

I have got a small account to settle with you, when I see you. If you do not write me some good long letters I shall disown you.

I suppose you are all right now you have got a horse to take care off [sic].  You must persuade Father to get a Sleigh Harness & a Sleigh open waggon [sic].  by all means I shall expect to take some rides with you this winter.  I have got a Splendid Blanket for the Horse & if I come home you shall have it.

One of our boys Johnny [Paylor] has just brought in a Splendid little Dog & has named him Camp Douglas.

We have a great many good times here & I just wish you were here, for a week.  You could have lots of fun especially at night seeing the Rats have Battallion [sic] Drill

Write soon



(to Mother)


You must not think becauseI have not written to you, that I did not want you to write, far from it, but I supposed, that the news I had written, you would all like to hear.

I am trying to carry myself about right & think I can get along by behaving myself and carrying myself about right.  I have attended some of the evening meetings at the Post Chapel, but can not attend regular, on account of my being on Guard.

I am very sorry, of course that I could not come home.  I would like a change, both of Diet & lodging.  Here we have no conveniences of lodging, nothing but Blankets, to sleep on and under, so I can not take off pants.

I do not know, what I should think to set down to a Table & sleep on a bed again.  Do not think I am complaining far from it.  I tell you what I want, next week when I take Supper with you, that is Wheat Pancakes & Syrup, I think I could relish this.

You should see the how excited the boys are, at the prospect of coming home, & I a little.

Hoping to see you soon



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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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