Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 15, 1862

Camp Vermont
Dec 15th /62

Dear Father

I have not got my box yet, but expect to tomorrow.  I got a Pass, this morning for Alexandria, expecting to find it at the Express Office, but did not find it.  It will most likely come there to day & then I can send for it. There is no new cases of the Small Pox, in our Company yet, though several are complaining. I am in hopes no one else will get it.

I wrote in my last, that Clouse would be sent to Washington this is a mistake, they are to be kept near the Seminary. they are to have good care & to be Nursed by an old Doctor.

There is but little news in Camp now, the boys are fixing up their Quarters. I was very much disappointed in Alexandria, I expected to see a nice Clean City, but found narrow Dirty streets & everythin looking miserable.

Dec 16th, 11 AM.  I got my watch this morning from Granger, I like it very much, it looks as if it would keep good time. I have not got the bundle, but shall as soon as he unpacks his Trunk.  I have not got the Box yet, and am afraid, I shall not get it to day.  I could not get a pass again to day.

I am not as certain, as you are about our being paid off, there is no signes [sic] of it here.  I think I get all the Papers you send, for I get a Paper almost every day.

My cough is almost well, but I have not got rid of my cold, do not be alarmed about me, I shall take care of my self, you may be sure.

I do not think I shall need a vest.  I have not so far, but then I may, for all that The Major, says that if we stay here 10 days, that we shall stay here all winter, or in their words, if we are not ordered to reinforce Burnside, we are all right for th winter.

The Mail leaves the Camp every morning at 9 AM, & gets here about 5 PM, every day.

I have got plenty of Diareeah Medicine, enough to last a great while.

Dont you be alarmed, about my volunteering to do work, that is played out I have got to day to do that.  I have found out, that you make nothing by it.

I do not think you had better send me a Cap, the Col says he will not, let the boys, wear any other kind of Caps than our Fatique.  He is going to have the Regt, wear white Leggins.  They will look well on Parade.

If we stay here any length of time, I expect we shall have to go to Alexandria to be reviewed, the other boys that were here, had too [sic].  You can come from Washington to Alexandria here in about for 20 cts, but you will have, to get a pass.

I am glad you had the box sent to A, for if you had sent it to W, I do not know when I should have got it.  I shall be glad to get the Dried fruit for we can stew it on a little stove we have in our Tent.  we are just getting settled down & can take things, more comfortable now, that is if we stay.

I am going to get a pass some day & go to Mount Vernon, it is only 5 miles from here. that is only a short walk for me now. I could stand the Marching around the Country, if it was not for the Heavy Knapsack, that is what is killing. I can walk off 5 or 10 miles with out feeling it, if it was not for that.

did Aleck, get his furlough renewed or not, if he did not I think he will have trouble.  He did not need a Furlough, half as much as a great many of our boys, that have been worse than him.

The Rumor here is that our Col has failed in being a Brig genl, if that is so, we hope he will resign. Our Lieut col, has changed a great deal, since his sickness, he takes more interest in the boys now, than before.

Barney does not like it, because they published, his letter & especially his asking his Mother for a 1/2 bushel of Doughnuts.

do you think [Tinsly] will send you the Republican, next year, if I thought he would not, I would write off not more letter[s] for him.  I see he says, he shall discard the [Free] [List] next year.

the boys that have the small Pox, are getting along finely, none of them are very sick. We have got no new cases.

enclosed you will find a Sample of the Pants, worn in the Army.  I wish Mother would get something like this & make me a pair of pants.  The pants we got are miserable & last but a very short time.  I wish mother would make me a pair like my Best Black ones with the Pockets cut straight across the top, or else like the black ones, with a button, & please put straps on & a watch Pocket.  the pants cost $3,03 here  & I think Mother could get me up a pair a great deal better & would cost but a little more.  If mother could & you should get a chance to send them I should be glad.  I hate to ask mother to do it, knowing she has plenty to do, but then I will pay her some day, with Interest, for these things.

I have had pretty easy times, for the past few days, while the Co has been on Picket, Al & I have taken comfort.

(ed. note: remainder missing)

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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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