Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 19, 1862

6 PM

Camp Vermont
Co D 111th Regt NTSV

Dear Father

This morning at 7,30 we were again ordered out to do Fatigue Duty at Fort [Legon] [2nd].  We marched over & then the Seargents & Corporals, were excused from doing duty, so all we had to do was to look around the country.  I helped a lady, draw some water & carried it for her to wash, & she gave me some Fried Cakes & Apples. I wished myself home doing the same work.

they call the fort, that we are working on, Fort [Legon], but this will not be the name. It is not very large only holding 12 Guns, but still there is a great deal of work to do on it.  The Largest Gun mounted, is about 60 [Pd].  You would be surprised if you came through this country, to see how many Forts there is here.  There is a regular chain of Forts all around this side of Washington.  We would like no better fun, than to Garrison some of these Forts.  there is a Sergt that has command of the Fort that we are building, that has risen from the Ranks, to his present position. He is a Civil Engineer & gets as much pay as a Brig Genl.

I will now describe our house.  It is built of Logs about 3 feet length & about 8 feet Square.  On one side, we have two bunks, a Stove in one corner, we are now living comfortable. All the trouble is who shall build the fire in the morning.

When I got back from the Forts, I found my Box. You may be sure it did not take us long to open it. To night we had Sausage & bread and butter, & now feel a little better. My Boots fit tip top, I like them very much. I have had a great many visitors to night because I have got a box.

I am getting ready to pull my stripes off, I think from all appearances now, a fellow by the Name of Catlin from Lodus, will be the next Sergt. Green and Granger are working for him. and trying to get him in. He is 7th Corporal. Just as soon as the order is read on Dress Parade, if it is so, I shall go to the Capt, & resign. I like to see fair Play. I thing [sic] the order will be read, tomorrow on Sunday.

6,30 AM Dec 20th.  Just been out to roll Call.  we have got to go on Fatigue duty to day. This has been a very cold night, but will be a warm day. To day I can Christen the new Boots.

This old fellow that we are guarding his property, is a Brother of Masons, not a Cousin. I would like that Business.

They are hurrying up the Fort we are working on, in case Jackson comes towards Washington. It would be all right if we got extra pay but we will not.

Tell Mother I am very much obliged for the nice things she has sent, they taste good to us.

Hoping to hear from you again Soon


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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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