Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 8, 1862 – Camp Pomeroy

Camp near Fairfax Sem
Dec 8th /62

Dear Father

I wrote you a letter yesterday, & will write you again to day.  I received your letter last night about 6 PM & was very glad to hear from you again.

I hope Alec will come, pretty soon as I need my Boots very much, these I have got, are all worn out & are not fit to wear, especially in the snow.  I do not think it best for you to send me any Apples, ( a barrel I mean), it will cost so much, & then there is no chance to get, it up from the City.  Apples are very dear here we have to deny ourselves these things now.  I should not object to a few, in my boots, when sent I would not object to a little Dried fruit, so that we could [stew], them here.  I do not think I need, any Buttons & [thread], I have got plenty of both. I would like a towel or two & a few pins.  The Mittens I shall not object too, though do not need them now.

I shall be very glad to get the Watch, as I need it on Picket, or on Guard.

Yesterday was, an awful cold & windy day.  At night we drew Rounds of Cartridges, the story was, that they were expecting us to be attacked during the night.  All nonsense.  In about a week if we stay here, we shall live a little more comfortable,  We have taken the 15th Connecticut’s place & their Tents.  Some of them have got Floors in, & will be more comfortable, for Winter Quarters.

The story is now, that we are to stay here & are, to go out on Picket twice a week.  I do not like the idea of this in the Winter.  I would rather go nearer, the City.  Only two Papers a day, are granted, but it is to far from the City, to go there in a day, it is about 12 miles.

I hardly know yet whether our Colonel, will be Brigadier Genl, or not.  I hope he will.  I sincerely hope our QM, will be [Cashiered] & that Moor will take his place, this would suit us all.  What did Moor, say about my promotion, or had he not heard any thing about it.

You may be sure I shall not object to being Sergt.  you may be sure. Then I can carry a Sword, as Sergts, carry them. 

I expect some of us will have to go on Picket again to day, or tomorrow. I dread the 6 mile walk, with my boots, I shall have wet feet.  I hope Moore, will come, this week, certainly.

We are not drawing full Rations, not have we at any time.  We had Dress Parade last night, it was so cold that we almost Froze.  I tell you this life is tough, in Winter.  But the winter only lasts this month & next, then the Mud.  Winter has fairly set in here.

I dreamed last night that Willie Vandermark was dead.

I do not know of any more News to write, now but will write soon again.  I would like a little paper & some Envelopes. I received the Money all right, never needed it more in my life.

Please write again Soon

Love to all Mother Maggie Charlie Rosa & the same for yourself.

Should like to home with you at Christmas & New Years, tip top.

Please write soon

Manley

I wish you would send me some cough medicine.

(second letter)

On Picket, 9 miles west of Alexandria, Dec 8th 62

Dear Father

After I wrote to you this morning, we were ordered into line again to go on Picket.  It looks now like being out here, two thirds of the time,  I do not like the Idea, of walking out here twice a week.  I would rather stay out for a week at a Time, if they only furnished us Rations enough.

We are now stationed in a large woods, on a Side hill.  We have made us little huts of Boughs, of trees & can make out to live a little more comfortable, than I did before.

I spoke to Hoy to day,  he says he has not had a Letter from his wife, since October.  Perhaps you had better Direct some Envelopes for her.  He wants to know which one of his Children was hurt.

Just about 6 PM, Officer of the Day, came around & told, us to conceal, our Fires as much as possible, to fire two Guns off in case of trouble,  The orders, were very strict, about halting men, & in case we were attacked, to rally together.

This is that same place that [McClenans] Army had Pickets out & where they fired into one another.  This is a mighty pleasant place to be on Picket & the Farthest ones out at that.  But then that is the Excitement of the Thing.

Dec 9th 10 AM.  We had a pretty good time last night, no excitement I have just got your letter, on Picket, & need not tell you, how glad I was to get it, I never had a letter do me more good.  the Stamps, came All right. I want you to keep an account, of it. I do not want you to be anything out by it.

Barney is on Picket, Corporal of the Guard.

I shall be glad to get the Trunk you may be sure.  I think we can get the Trunk brought up in one of the Baggage Waggon [sic] or Commissary’s Waggon.

We have had some pretty had times, the past few days, but to day it is a splendid day, nice & warm, just like Spring.  It looks now like, our having Winter Quarters here.  The story is now, that our Regt has got to come, out on Picket, once a week.  This will be better.

I will try & write you almost every day, for I love to hear from you often.  I must send this in by one of the boys, so that it will go out.  I will answer, the letter tomorrow & may have more news.

Please send me a Good Thick, Diary as some days, I want to write more than one page, I will send mine home at the end of the Year.  The name of our Camp is, Camp Pomeroy, I made a mistake

Write soon

Love to all

Manley

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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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