Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 18, 1862

Camp Douglas
Chicago Illinois
Co D 111 Regt NYSV
7 PM

Dear Father

I do not know whether I can fill a sheet full of news, but I will try.

For the past few days, we have heard a Dozen different rumors. First that we were to be paid off next that we were going home & now the news in Camp is, that all the Harpers Ferry paroled Prisoners, are Exchanged.

This I hardly believe, though hope it is so. The evenings papers say, that we are Exchanged & ordered to report at Washington If it is so, Good Bye, to going home.

I hope we will be sent with Banks, to Texas. That would suit me, tip top. Everything here now is, well, I cant tell you how We are hoping every day, for something to turn up.

We had a Battillion Drill. Two Cos from our Regt & two from the 15, 126, 125 & two from the 89th N Y.

The General told the Capt that our Comp did the best of any on the Ground. After this we are not to have a Guard around the Ground, we can go & come when we please, provided we are here to Drill & Roll Calls. I shall like this a little better.

I wish you could send me, my Watch by Williams next week, as, it is not settled yet that we go home, & I need it every day. I think if we do not go home, I will send for those things, I spoke about in the Trunk. But be sure you do not let everybody know it.

Our German School is played out, until this, is settled, what is to be done with us.

Wednesday 3 PM. I could not find news enough to fill out this letter, this morning, but since then we have heard enough this AM. I went up to get the Papers, when the Ajutant [sic] told me, there was no papers, that we were all ordered to Washington. He said, that Tyler told him, there would not be a New York man on the Ground to night. It is a settled thing that we are going to leave here, they say we are ordered to Washington, by the way of Cleveland Ohio, if we were going to W, why would we go that way. It would be cheaper to go the way we came a great deal, I think now we are going to NY.

It has been all confusion, in Camp to day, Some think we are Exchanged & feel downhearted, & others think we are to be quartered there & still some others think we are going home. Lieut Moor, says he shall go home, when we leave here & will take the Trunk home.

I shall send, home a Blanket My Rubber Coat, my vest a little box, with some little things in it. All of the Regt draws a Rubber Blanket, so I will not need the coat. The moment we leave here, I shall Telegraph home, if possible 7 PM It is rumored that we are under, sealed orders, to be opened at Cleveland. To night the boys are singing we are going home [ ] no more. They are feeling tip top all glad to get out of this place. But still there [lingers] a little uncertainty as to whether we are Exchanged or not.

Thur morn 6,30. No more news, except they all expect to go home to day. if we do not I shall go to Mrs. Stones & stay to night

Love to all.

Do not write again till you hear from me


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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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