Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

Ca. November 8, 1862

Camp Douglas
Chicago Illinois

Dear Father

I do not think you used me just right in not writing before, but I suppose you have been expecting us home. We have about given it up, though we keep hearing rumors about it. I think there is no doubt our going home, but then we can not tell when our Colonel & the Colonels of the other NY Regts are trying to get us home on the plea that, this is a great deal more unhealthy place than our own State. I know it is as our Boys are dying off every day, you can see three or four corpses in the Dead House all the time.

Wm Sharp1 Died at 4,20 thursday afternoon. his Parents arrived here on Wednesday morning about 10 AM. He was conscious until 2 AM Friday, when he commenced Dying & lingered along until the Afternoon.  8 of our Boys escorted the corpse to the Depot & did all in their power to help the Parents.  We escorted it to the Depot & there Guarded it, until it was put on the Train.  It was a heavy blow for his folks as he did not look but little like dropping away, so soon. when they arrived here.  He weighed 210 lbs when he enlisted & served just three months almost to an hour.  I do not think we could have lost a man, that will be more missed than him, he was quiet, [steady] & always doing his duty.

After his Parents had left we went to the Tremont House & heard Genl Freemont speak for a few moments, this was just what I had been wanting for a long time.  He seems to think this War will be ended in three Months.  He is a Short good looking man & I think he makes a Splendid looking Soldier.

there is a great deal talk here of Foreign Intervention, here & having a war with England.  Do you think there is anything in it, It is the common Talk Down town.  I was very glad to get so good news from Wayne County & hope it [ ] just as good from New York State.  As soon as you get the returns please forward as soon as possible, as I am very anxious to hear.

I have just been to our breakfast, which is Salt Bacon, so Salt[y] that no body can eat it, Bread & Coffee, I never could drink the Coffee since I was sick at the Ferry.  Now how do you think we could live like that & we could not, except we bought some Butter, to eat on our Toast Bread & this all costs money.  I wish you would send me a [ ] I do not like to ask for Money & am sorry to write for it, but we must live here & if we come home, I could not live on the Rations we would have.

Last night the Ticket Agent on Michigan Southern RR told one of our Boys that we were going today or tomorrow, that the Cars were all ready.  When we go that is to be the Route & we are to have Passenger Cars to ride in.  I wish I knew when we were going, so as to tell you I shall most certainly let you know when we start.  But I do not want you to stop writing or sending the Papers, until You know, that we are on the way.  The Colonel seems to be determined to have us go home, but I do not know how he will succeed.

I have been promoted either to 4th or 5th Corporal I do not know which yet, as it has not been read yet, but will be this PM. I[t] does not go to the Sergeant. [Dwyer] a Dutchman.  the 6th Corporal takes Warrens place & he is reduced to 5th Sergeant.  He had ought to have been brought to the Ranks.  One of the Corporals over me, a Dutchman from Lodus is reduced to the Ranks, I am glad of this as he was no Officer. Tomorrow Sunday, our Regt goes on Guard again, & on Monday. I shall go to Mrs Stones again

Love to all

1 Sharp, William W.–age,21 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Died, 7 Nov 1862, at Chicago, IL

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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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