Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 12, 1862 – Camp Vermont

Camp Vermont
3 miles South of Alexandria
Dec 12th /62

Dear Father

I wrote to you yesterday just as we were leaving Camp Pomeroy, that we were again ordered to move, but knew not whither.  We left the Camp about 9 AM & marched about 3 miles South, to a Barracks, just Vacated by the 12th Vermont, there we unslung Knapsacks, & commenced fixing up, expecting to stay there & were congratualting our selves, on our nice Quarters, when we were again ordered to Fall into line, & give place to the 4th Delaware.

You can imagine how nice we felt having to give up our Quarters.

About 4 PM, we marched about a 4 mile farther South to the 16th Vermonts Ground.  we are here now not knowing whether we shall stay of move, 1/2 a mile, west, on a Side Hill.

this Camp is fixed for Stockade Tents, It is laid up with Logs, about 6 logs high, about 6 feet Square & the A Tents, put on top, so it look [sic] a great deal like a house. If we stay here we can take comfort 

Barney, Albert, H, H Warren & myself, have got one with a Stove inside a Stone (or rather marble) floor, the Stone (marble) brought from an old Mansion, not far from here. We have got everything nice & convenient.

I wish you could see us together when we are Cooking our Meals, on our little Stove. We are making a great many plans, what we are going to do, but we may be disappointed yet.

A cousin of Mason, of Mason and [Stidell], notoriety, lives but a very short distance from here.  Our Troops are Guarding his peoperty.  He is a Clear Secessionist.

We have got several cases of Small Pox in Camp, I am now sitting, by one of our boys, Philip Clouse1 of Lock Berlin, who is all broke out, & it looks to me a great deal like the Small Pox.  The Doctor has not been to see him yet, so I do not know whether it is that or not.  If it is, I have promised him, to take care of him.  He begged so hard for me to, that I could not refuse.  Perhaps you may not, approve of this, but do you think, I could see one of our own boys, suffer, for the want of care.  Before I finish this I will let you know how it is.

I got your letter this AM & Paper, I think I get all the Papers you send, & am very glad to get the things in the Box, & think I shall be able to go down to Alexandria & get, some of the Teamsters to bring it up for me.

I think it is a Mistake about our being paid off, it looks no more like it now, than it has before.   I do not think we shall be paid off until next month, or until we are mustered again.  That is the way it looks now to me.

I have not suffered as much, for the want of boots, as you may think, to be sure it has been very cold but I am now sitting, in my shirt sleeves, with out any cover over my head & feel warm.  The weather here is very changable It is cold for two or three days & then it turns right around & is quite warm & pleasant.  You would think it was Spring if you were here to day.

Tell mother not to worry so much, about me, I fare better than she seems to think. I am healthy feeling good, In good Spirits & contented & what more do I need I can get along anywhere. Does mother think that if I was sorry that I had Enlisted, I should own it, no sir, too much Stacey about me for that. Mother must not worry so much about me. do not think, we do not enjoy ourselves at all, or that it is all Hardships, it would be singular if it was. I for one am not in the least sorry, that I have done, what I have, I have learned & seen a great, deal & shall do all the time.  I have thought that the Capt was down hearted for awhile past, but said nothing about it

(editor’s note: the above line was struck as in the letter. Following below are two undated letter fragments that seems to go with this letter contextually.)

I shall give Mother a Lecture if she writes any more such Letters, & will cease Corresponding with her.  When we enlisted the Service, we did not expect we was going to live as we had been used too [sic], it would be impossible, with so large an Army, we expected to see some rough Times & not all sunshine .

You would not think I suffered much, if you could see how fat I am getting. I never have been healthier in my life. Nor do I think I have been in better Spirits; to be sure, I get discouraged once in a while but who would not, going through what we have.

I would like a little money to settle a few Debts, if we are not paid off, which I am afraid we will not be just yet. I can assure you, I shall not be very sorry to get the box & the Good things & will Try & do justice to them.

If I knew where Milliards People, lived, I should most certainly go & see them, but I do not. Our Co has gone out on Picket Duty to day, for four days, I am excused as I was on Guard yesterday & last night.  I was not sorry, as I feel quite worn out to day.

I can not tell you yet, what Regts, are in our Brigade but soon shall be able to.  There is almost, if not all of Caseys, Division encamped [right] around here.  They are all fixing to stay, but they may be disappointed as we were.  I should much prefer, being held as Reserves, to protect Washington, such a thing might be possible.

I hardly know, whether, our Col will succeed in getting to be Brigadier or not.  For my part I hope he will, then we shall not be under him as much as we was. There will be an [ ] time in the Regt, if the [ ]

Pox spreads much, One thing is certain I shall nurse no one out of the Company. Several have spoken to me about it, in [their] companies but I have refused. The doctor had just been to see him and says that he has got Small Pox & that it is coming out Finely. We have got to take him over to the Hospital at Fairfax Seminary, in a rough Army Waggon [sic], because we have got no Ambulances. I pity the poor boys, it reminds me of my ride. I think we have got two or three more, coming down with it. The measles is prevailing also in Camp. I spoke to the Capt this morning & he says he thinks the Small Pox will spread through the Company. I hope he will not get it. If there is no nurses in the Hospital I shall [stay]

(ed: next fragment)

There. 9 PM. I have just brought [Clouse] to the Hospital, but shall [not stay] with him, as he is to be sent to Washington to the Small Pox Hospital.

I rode over here with a Contraband, that used to work for Squire [Milliard]. He said that [they], used to live at Fairfax Court house, but that he thought they had sold out. I learned a great deal from him. I shall go back to Camp, tomorrow but hate to leave the boys, to suffer alone.

Hoping to hear from you soon

Love to all


1 Claus, Philip–age,19. Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Galen. Wounded in action, 14 Oct 1863 at Bristoe Station, VA; transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps, no date; discharged 27 Jun 1865, as of Co. D, Twenty-fourth Regiment, at Washington, DC.; also borne as Clouse, Clous, and Clauss.
Tags :

No Comments

(will not be published) (required)

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."

The Letters

Recent Comments

Friends and supporters