Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 11, 1862

Camp Pomeroy
Co D 11th Regt NYSV
Dec 11th /62

Dear Father

I wrote you a little about our Daily duties, & now I will tell you how strict they are.  We can not pass the Guard, for anything, Not even to get water, all [th..] way, we can get water, is to [run] the guard.  This will soon be played out as the boys, will have water. & all they want. 

One of our Boys heard the Lieut Col, say that he was going to be Just as strict with us, as the Military Law will allow, for six months & then if he could not do anything with us he would Resign.

We have got four Cases of the small Pox on the Ground & all the boys, in our Co, have just gone to the Hospital to be Vacinated [sic].  I hope none of them will get it.  If the boys in our Co get it I shall nurse them but not any other.  They can not Detail me for any such Duty.

This is a very nice warm Day, here just like spring, but so muddy. I am glad Mother does not live here.  How many times I have been glad, that You did not live South, Everyone has to suffer here, both Union & Secesh.

You can not imagine how desolate the Country is, everything is destroyed. This part of the Country will not get over the effects of this war, in a great many years.

The Timber is all being cut off, fences are burned up, Orchards cut down, & everything going to waste. this used to be a Beautiful country here, around Fairfield Seminary & now, it looks different.

I suppose we shall have to go on Picket tomorrow, I wish my boots were here.  All the Men that we could raise, the other Time, for Picket Duty, out of the Co, was 25.  Our Co is greatly reduced.  We have got so many sick ones, & more are getting Sick everyday.  I do not know of a man, in the Co that has not got a Cold & some very bad ones.  I have had one ever since we got to Chicago.  a great many have Sore Throats, I am troubled a litte with that.  It is a wonder that more are not Sick, than are, we are so Exposed.

the boys in our Squad talk of getting up a Christmas dinner, if we can & are not on duty.  I do not know how we will succeed yet . The best note that I have heard, about meat here is this, Albert hunt said he bought some Sausage & that he found a piece of meat inside marked US.  He meant a piece of horse with that mark.

I heard to day that you were going to send the Trunk this week, by Mr Budlong, I hope this is so, If it comes, I expect we shall be on the Picket.  We will have to go on tomorrow, & be relieved on Sunday, morning next.

Our Col is now, acting as Brigadier Genl.  We are now in the First Brigade Casey’s Division.  The story is around that we have got to move, again 4miles from here.  this I guess, is all a Story. & I hope will not prove true.

I will now tell you, what we got in our Squad, with the Tent.  Three good Axes, Two Kettles, a Wash Dish a nice, Camp Stove, & a great many other small things.  Just what we need, here. I do not think, we shall be in Action, this winter, but then we may be.  I should rather lay here all winter, you may be sure than have to March around the Country.

One of our boys, Shot a Rebel last night, on Picket.  They stand but a poor chance, with our Boys.  I little expected to get a letter from Home, to day, but did not.

Friday morning Dec 12th 4,30 AM

How different, I can write you this morning, from what I did last night.  Then I told you we had winter Quaters, now we have marching orders, for what place none of us know.  Last night at 8 PM, the Cooks, were ordered to Cook two day Rations, at 12, we got our Rations At 4 Roll call. & now we are packing up our things & getting ready to Strike our Tents & at a moments notice.

This proves that we can not tell what an hour may bring forth.  I am very sorry that we did not stay here, until the trunk, came, but we can not.  Some Say that we are only going to change our Position, [ ] that we have got to move 4 miles.  others, which I consider, the most likely story that we are going to reiinforce Siegel.  Some say, we are going to have a Two days march.  At any rate, we can not tell now.

I do not like this Night business, Destroying a mans Rest.  but then this is what we came for.

I got a letter from Thomas Hooker, yesterday, he has not been as well since we left, & thinks he shall have to stay, then two or three weeks yet. I sent his letters on to him, today.

I must now close, as I have not Packed up my Knapsack yet

With love to all & will write to you as soon as we get settled

Kiss the Girls for 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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