Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 10, 1862

Camp Pomeroy
Co D 111th Regt NYSV
Dec 10th

Dear Father

I had a Splendid time on Picket yesterday, it was so nice & warm. In the day time we have no guards posted, only from 5 PM, to 6 AM. In the day time we can do as we like, only not go far away, from Camp.  Our Rations, are one loaf of Bread a day,

I knew what was the matter of Billy Sharp, but I would not be mean enough to write that home, to make His folks feel bad.  That came from where all such stories come.

I have heard nothing lately about my Promotion, but shall do soon.  I hope you will send the Trunk by that Mr Budlong of the 8th Cavalry, then you can send me more things.

I think I get the Papers you send & am very glad to get them.  They are about all the News we get.

I am afraid if they try to get Recruits in Lyons, they will be disappointed.  Any man is a Fool to enlist, in a Regt that has been in the Field.  and especially in this Regt. I never would advise any one to Enlist the way this war is carried on.

If they Promote a Corporal over me, I shall go to the Ranks no mistake.  If the Capt is going to do any thing, I wish he would do it now, and let a man draw the Extra pay, what is the use of waiting.  Capt is so awful slow, he takes things so cool.

We heard some heavy [Firing] in the Direction of Washington, the AM. Probably Salutes.

I guess you may put me in a (unreadable) [  ] of Soup.   the soup we get here is so Poor.

We have had two pretty good days for Picket duty, this time, expect soon to be relieved again & then 6 miles through the mud again.  we have drawn all our Acoutriments, now, & are all ready for Action.

We hear nothing different about pay if we are paid, it will only be for two months, as we were not Mustered, but for [five] months.  now what do you think of Protecting such mens Property as this.

there is an old man near here, that told the Boys, if Virginia was a free State he would leave it in a moment, that he would not live in a Free State.

Our Capt of Co B, told us to burn his Corded wood, that he meant to live on them.  We have had orders not to burn wood that was piled up.  But of course we do not obey such orders.

I hope you will not forget to send me some Paper & envelopes.  This I need.  I shall be very glad to get the Boots, I need them more than anything else.

I never [ ] said, anything to you about Danl Hutchings, he has been trying to get his discharge, ever since we left & he had hardly done any duty & is always going to the doctor to get Excuse from Duty & alwasy commences to Groan when the Capt is around. I think he will be reduced.  Capt does not like him at all.  There is not a boy in the Co that likes him.

2,30 PM. We have Just returned from Picket & had our Dinners. We have just moved into another tent with a Stove & a good Floor. We have got a Frying Pan & everything convenient to Cook. the [Fixtures] (ed:unreadable).

(editor’s note: the following fragment probably goes with this letter)

a piece.  If this is our winter Quarters we can have pretty good times.

You can not imagine, how nasty & dirty, it is here, Mud about 6 inches deep & awful at that.  We had 6 miles to walk in it, this morning, with an old Pair of shoes, my Boots not being fit to [wear].

When we get our pay about 25 in the Co are going to have a Soldiers Record.  With Company Comissioned & Non Comiss Officers & the Privates.  It is a pretty thing & only costs a $1,00  It will be a splendid thing for future [Refference] It is sent so that, we can send them home.

the order has just come around for us to clean up our Guns & get ready for Drill Parade.  Tomorrow we have to Drill again I am in hopes the change in our Non Commiss Staff.  I think it will be pretty soon.

December 11th 6,30 AM. We now have to get up at 6 AM, Roll Call Drill, From 11 to 1, officers, Drill.  One dinner, 2 to 3,30 Drill, Dress Parade at 4 PM, Supper at 6 PM, [Tatoo] 8, Taps at 8,30.  So you see, that our time is pretty well filled up.  They seem to be determined to keep us busy.

I do not know of any more news to write now. I hope to hear from you before I write again

Love to all

Manley

 

Dear Mother

I am glad to hear from you again.  I am sorry that Franciscos folks, heard that letter read, it will make Williams my enemy.  You should have seen the Letter that he wrote to Barney.  It was Shameful.  I do not blame father But I do blame Francisco.  And then [K...] wrote to Barney & he read it to the boys.  But then it can not be helped now.

Now Mother, nothing would suit me better than you to take my Money to part pay on the House.  You had right to have the Money for your last Springs work at S.

I do not think you are more any more glad to hear from me, than I am, to hear from you,  I like nothing better than to sit down & write a letter home.  but I do not like to have them Published.

You asked me, if Fruit was plenty, It is but, very poor Apples cost 2[] cts a piece.  [I] Do [ ] to eat many of them at that rate.  I would not send the Trunk by Express, it costs too much. 

Though I never object to the nice things I am just getting so I can eat Army Rations.  I can now eat Raw Pork & Bacon. Now we have to Fry Pork & dip our Bread in the gravy.  I wish you could see us on picket, make our Coffee in a tin Cup, Fry our Pork in a Plate & then eat our bread.  I never thought I could live so, but we have to come too [sic] it.

I am getting quite stout & fat, though I do not know what on.  This I know I am getting quite Lazy, but do not think I shall be to Lazy to work, when my Time is out.  Far from it.

The boys say that my Face is getting better. This I know I shall be swiftly Taned [sic] up, but I do not care for that, as long as I keep healthy.

I do not think as you do that we shall go into Field this winter.  I was talking with the Capt of Co B & he says this [will] be our winter Quarters & that we will most likely come out here on Picket once in 8 days.  This will not be very bad, especialy [sic] if the war closes by Spring.  I hardly know what to think of that.  I have talked with some of the [strong] Secesh & they say it never will be until we give them what they ask for.

I wish you would send me Neck ties.  You may wonder that I do not write all that I [want] at the same time, but you would not if you saw where I write.  Father asked me why I did not send, home [Hatties] letters, I thought I did. I wonder if he thinks I have nothing else to do, than to write to the Girls.

Please write soon.

Manley

Dear Rosa Stacey

I received your welcome letter & would say, that I have received your letters & am very much obliged for them.  I have kept neglecting to write to you, but will try & do better in the future.  I shall try & send some Rabit [sic] Skins home so that mother, can make you a muff.  they are very nice & cheap.  I suppose before I see you, you will have another Birth Day.  of course you are in a Hurry for it.

I hope you hang up, one of my old Stockings for me, as I shall not be there, to do it.  you be sure & see that it is done up right.  I suppose you have great times riding around the Country, on that Famous Pony, I want you & Charlie to learn a Tune called, Rally round the Flag Boys, to sing when I come home.

My love to you & Maggie. Kiss her for me.

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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