Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 14, 1862

Camp Douglas
Chicago Illinois
Nov 14th
9 AM

Dear Father

Mr Hunt thinks of going home tonight, so I shall send this home by him.  We did think of sending the Trunk home by him, but as we have nothing particular to send, I do not think we will,  I shall send the Revolver home by Mr H, to Charlie, he must be careful of it.

I hardly know what to think of our coming home everything looks mixed up.

Major Baird of the 126th, has been [Cashiered] & Discharged from the Service, he has told a great many of his boys that, they have broken their Parole & that they are Fools if they ever go into service again.  He says he shall read the Parole to all the boys.

Things have looked for the past few days, that we were going home today or tomorrow, but I doubt it.  The 126th Boys say they are under Sealed Orders to March But we can place no confidence in anything until we hear it positive. The Orderly Sergeant’s of all the Cos in this Regt, have drawn up petitions to the War Department with all the Comp’s names Signed, praying that we may be immediately Exchanged, once Mustered out of the Service.  Of course it would take some time to hear from this, even should it succeed.

Hunt will inform You on our life here, better than I can write it,  He took Supper with us last night, but said he could not eat, where we had to.  He did not see the [worst] of our living, such as Salt Bacon & Bread.  He came just the night time to see, how we live.  He says we can not possibly live here this winter.

You should go through the Different Barracks at night & hear the Coughing now & what will it be in the winter.  Dont be alarmed about me,  My Cold is almost gone.  Hunt will tell you whether I look very sick or not.  They have got the Diptheria in the Hospital, I think I shall keep away from there, after this.

If you send me a Trunk again, please let no one know it & then there will be no trouble I will mention a few things if I stay here I would like, about a Peck of Fried Cakes & a Can or two of Preserves, some Apples, & if you could send me some Honey in a Tin Can, I would like it very much.  Do not send me any Bed Clothes as I have Blankets enough to keep warm, If I should find a pound or two of Butter I would not object.  By all means do not send anything for the Capt in the Trunk, He is played out on that.

I know this is not very accomodating, but then, You make no friends by being to [sic] liberal with your things.  That was the trouble with the other Trunk.  I was to [sic] liberal with my things altogether & now I can go without.  I tell you this place makes a man Selfish, the Motive is every man for himself & it is carried out here to perfection.

there is no use of my writing much about Camp life here now, Hunt will inform you, All the Cry here now is I want to go home.  But how it will end none of us can tell.

I have Just received your letter, But have no chance to answer it

Will write again 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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