Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 23, 1862

Camp Douglas
Chicago Illinois
Co D 111 Regt
2,30 PM Nov 23rd /62

Dear Father

I received your letter last night, & must say it gave me the Blues. You seem to think it is a settled thing that we are Exchanged and that we are to go into the Field again, right Off. The boys here can not see it in the light that we are Exchanged yet, What in the World are we Exchanged for, & if we are, why were we not Exchanged when the others were, and not to wait a week & then say we were Exchanged. If we were Exchanged at the same time with the others, why was not something said about it. For my part I can not see the point.

We heard here today that the 11th NYSV, taken with us, and that left here the day before yesterday, were encamped at Rochester or were in New York State some wheres, if this is so, I think most certainly we shall come home too.

This I know, that we have Sealed Orders, to be opened at Cleveland Ohio. When we get there, we shall know what is to be done, with us. I think we shall most certainly leave here, tomorrow or Monday. When we go, we are to have first Class Passenger Cars, that would be a Luxury to us.

I have been to Mrs Stones this AM & had a good visit and a Splendid Dinner.

Yesterday our Regt was on Guard, I was Corporal of the First Relief. Came off at 6 AM. I have a great many Laughable incidents to relate about Guard Duty when I see you, or write again. If we have Dress Parade to night, we may hear something about our moving.

5 PM. Just come from Dress Parade, An order was read for the 111th to leave Camp Douglas, on the Route to Washington, on Monday next. We are to have First Class Passengers Cars all the way. If the other Troops [want] these, we shall go, but if not, then we will not, thats all. The Regt is to be divideded up into Squads, of 48 Men to a Car.

The boys are feeling tip top about leaving here. there will be fun, today and tomorrow. I hope they will not do as the 115th did, burn their Barracks, up just as they left here.

The 125th left here about an hour ago. I think I shall go on Provost Guard tomorrow. If not I shall go to the City to Church, that is if I can get a pass.

the question now is with us are we going to Washington or not. Thats whats the matter. Did Charlie get the Revolver all right, I think he will like it.

When I get to Cleveland I will Telegraph where we are bound for, Buffalo or Washington I suppose you will be very anxious to hear, all about it I have sent the trunk to Francisca by Freight, most likely you will get it next week. I shall be disappointed if I do not see NY next week

Love to all


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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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