Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 9, 1862

Camp Douglas
Chicago Illinois
Co D 111 Regt NYSV
Nov 9th 1862

Dear Father

I received your welcome letter today, while on Guard & now proceed to answer it

I have been on Guard today in the White Oak Guard House.  I have had 24 men on a Relief to Guard 40 men, it is rather a dull way to spend Sundays but then we cant help it.  Today quite an amusing thing occurred to day, in the Guard House A Woman came in, dressed in Soldiers Uniform & was put in the Guard House, I say amusing it was a sad sight,  She was so Drunk, that they had to carry her in.

This is the first time that I have had to go on Guard.  It is all uncertainty about our coming home, Barney has just told me that, he has heard today that we are to leave here on Wednesday or Monday next.  There is no use in my writing all the rumors I hear.  there has been a great deal of excitement in Camp the past few days about our being exchanged, for my part, I wish were to be.

[Perhaps] you may wonder how I spend so much money, it is just like this.  With out Butter we could do nothing with out it.  It is impossible to live on this Salt Bacon & dry Bread, you do not want me to when I can live better & Then there is milk to eat once in awhile & a great many more such things.

You had better be careful who you read my letters to or what you tell, today Barney had a letter from home, & in that it said, that I had written home about his drawing the Poor Widows things,  That is a pretty thing to [get] around the Company.

You asked me if I got my washing done, I do as we have no conveniences for washing here.  It costs me 8cts per pair for Drawers 5 cts for Shirts & three for Stockings.

Wm Waters felt very lonely here since Billy Sharp Died, he was just like a Brother to him.  I have bunked with Bill Sharp, about 6 weeks & I liked him & miss him very much.

Don’t you believe all the reports you hear about Billy Waters, he has not been Drunk, that I know.  he may have drank a little but he has not been Drunk.I know who wrote it, it was C McCumber a regular Spy in this Company, not any of the boys like him, he can not be believed, no more than Williams.

On Guard 1,30 AM.  This is a singular time to write at this time in the morning, but I know I must write now or get to [sic] late for the Mail.  I have just come on my relief & will have to stay till 10 AM, Just going & returning to my Breakfast.

Two Illinois Regts left for Kentucky yesterday the 93, & the 127th.  If it had been us, it would have suited [better]. I am glad you have done so well in getting a [rig ] & suppose you will find use for it, or at least Charley will.

I do not know how the Colonel will succeed in the plea, that this is the most unhealthy place. This I know that the 2nd time Regt went on Guard, we had 68 men in the Hospital & 78 sick in their Barracks.  Twelve men have Died in the Hospital that I know of & I do not know how many have died out.  It is nothing to see here 5 0r 6 men in the Dead House at a time.

I wish Charlie could be here just one night to kill rats, about 7 PM you can see every night the Boys with sticks routing them out of wood piles & killing them by the Dozen.  I have seen as high as 60 in one pile, killed in a little while.  They perfectly infest this place, you can walk no where with out seeing them.

What kind of a Story was that to tell, of Williams, that our Regt was paid Off,  That is smart.  It is no wonder he was not used better, writing home that he did not want anything & then to live & be kept right up by others.

I wish you could come out here, Just see how we live & then see how we could live if we had a Quartermaster.  There is some talk here, of having our QM dismissed and that Lieut Moor take his place.  That is the talk, how true it is I do not know. You may be sure if this is done, Co D will fare well in the future.   I think a great deal of Lieut Moor. Our Capt is a great favorite with the Colonel, & I should not be surprised if, he should be promoted to some thing higher yet. The last time our Regt was on Guard, he acted as Major, & well he did it too.  He is the finest looking Officer on the Ground, that is acknowledged by all. You should see him at Dress Parade when he marches up to Salute the Colonel.

My Promotion has not been read yet, but I think it weill be tonight. I am disappointed in not getting up more than two pages, I had expected some thing more then that.

Hoping to hear from you soon again, & to be at home yet before spring

I remain
Your Son



I would have written you before, had, I not thought I should be home, but as we are not nor is there much chance of it now, I will write. I was very much suprised to find how things have raised. I had not the slightest Idea of the change. I only wish I was home & could get a few Apples to eat with out paying 2 & 1/2 cts a piece for them.

I wonder who in the world, sent that Dispatch from Buffalo, saying that we eat Breakfast last Sunday in Buffalo, I suppose of course it caused some excitement. I am glad you have got a Girl at last, , which you has ought to have had before. You said if I were not in the Army you would go to England. If I were not, I soon would be, because I never should have been satisfied, until I have seen what I have & then how would it look, to have me at home & all the rest of the boys gone, no Sir I could not stand that, too much Mothers Grit for that,

Do not get me any Shirts or Bosoms, as I have got some & as to a Vest, I will get along until I know for certain what is to be done with us, if we are Exchanged, I am sure I shall not need it. Father asked me if I kept any account of the Money he sent me, I do not but expect him to take it out of my pay, when he gets it. If such a thing should happen that you should need Money, use my Bounty by all Means. I never asked Father it he put my money in the Bank or if he did what one, I ought to know, having so much Money out to Interest,

Do not send my Pictures to any Girls as I have already done that. You can send them to whoever you choose of your Friends. I have sent two & given two [orig] to Mrs Stone & Althea Yager. If Father finds fault with your letter let me know it. I will have him Court Martialed for it, I think that will stop it. I do not want you to have the Blues on my account, I feel tip top. I am quite well, & getting as fat as a Bean, that is what they all say here. I can not see what I am getting fat on, unless it be for want of work.

I must stop as I want to write to the Children




You say you will not write to me unless I send the Revolver. Now be careful how you talk to an United States Officer, or I shall send a Squad of men & have you put in Irons. You did not know that you had a Brother that was an Officer in the 111th did you. So now be careful how you talk to me. This is lovely business sitting up here this time of night 2,30 writing to you. Take good care of that Horse for me as I may want to use him & keep him up in style. I want you to see to things in my absence & when I return I will have you promoted to Corporals [Waiter]. Do you see any of the RR Boys, tell Jimmy I am getting as fat as a Bean & am having tip top times here

Hoping to ride with you this winter, or to take a ride on the Potomac.

I am
Don’t you believe all he says

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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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