Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 2, 1862 – Camp Chase

Camp Chase
6 miles from Washington
Dec 2nd /62

Dear Father

We left Washington yesterday morning, about 9,30, for our present Camp. we marched, Through Lousianah [sic] Ave, Penn Ave, & over Monumental Hill, and over the Long Bridge (not the Chain Bridge) to Camp Chase, about 6 miles South west of the City.  On our Route, we passed near enough to get a good view, of the White House, the War Dept, Washington’s Monument, & the Smithsonian Institute.

I am in hope’s of getting a pass, to go & see some of these Public Buildings, but hardly think I shall.  I have seen several of the 138th Boys here, they all seem to Feel well.  I want to go over to their camp if possible.  We have got a nice place to Camp, about, a mile from the Potomac.  We are near several large Forts, you can hardly look any way, with out seeing Camps.

We are not in the same Brigade, that we were. The [89] NYSV, the 116, 125, 126 NYSV are Brigaded together and are to Guard the RR, between here & Manassas.

there is some talk of our Colonel being made a Brigadier, & we be in his Brigade. If this is so, (I know he has been working for it) there will be some change in our Staff Officers & then I think our Capt, will be promoted.  He is today Officer of the Day.

It would suit our Boys to be turned into Heavy Artillery & Garrison some Fort, but this would be too much Good Luck.

Three out of the 5 NY Regts, Paroled have received their Arms, the 126th gets their own today & will soon leave.  I think we will get the same kind of Guns we had before.

I would like to know who that Citizen of Chicago was that wrote that lying letter to the Lyons [Repub].  Does he know more about the Camp than we do, I wish they had published (Dryers) letter, there was some truth in that.

I never thought I could live on Raw Bacon & Hard Tack, but I can & grow Fat.  Perhaps you may wonder why I sent home my vest, it was so small that I could not [get] it around me within two inches.  I have grown so fat.  This life agrees with me.

I have had an Awful Cold & Cough for a few days past but it is better now.  This is a lovely place when it Rains, the mud, two feet deep.

I was on Guard, last night again, it is my good luck to get on, always, first.  I hope soon, to be something higher, then I will get [rid] of that.  The boys have had lots of fun this morning chasing Rabbits, there is lots of them here, Co [D], had one cooked last night. The mail leaves Camp at 11 AM, & gets here about 2. We are to have [ ] Tents, 5 in a Tent, they are all together, better, than those with 15 in.  I expect we shall put up put Tents up today & then we will be settled

Love to Mother, Maggie
Charlie Rosa & the Same yourself.
I remain hoping to hear from you 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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