Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

January 9, 1863

Jan 9th /63

Dear Father

I received two letters from home, this AM, with $5,12cts in, which I am very glad to get. I wrote to you on the 7th, but got no chance to send it, as the mail has not commenced running regularly yet. The day I wrote to you, we had got settled for the night. We then marched into to [sic] Camp, to rest the best way we could until the next morning at 6, when we got orders, to be ready to go Picket again, at 9 AM. This would not been so very hard, if we did not have to carry our Knapsacks. So yesterday morning we marched out again.

I got a very good Post, with 6 men, to Watch the Manassas Gap RR Bridge, to keep any one from Crossing, but as there was two men to a post, it made it better for the men. Everything went off all right during the night. We were relieved at 8 AM, & took things cool back to Camp. almost as soon as we got back, we got the order to be ready for Battallion Drill at 2 PM. This was hard on the boys, that had been up all night. We had a very good Drill for an hour, then 20 minutes, to get ready for Dress Parade.

I am falling out as Color Guard, every time the Regt turns out, the Sergt, told me if I wanted to join the guard, I could have it certain, now all I want is your Answer. It would be a good thing for me, in more ways than one, I should get rid of Picket Duty & that is something.

Col Segoines Farewell Address was read on Dress Parade to night. How Touching his farewell to his brave boys of the 111th. We shall miss him Oh, how much. We think a great deal of our Lieut Col, now our Col, we are not afraid to go into Battle, under him. He is a Splendid, looking Soldier & a Gentleman.

Capt handed me my Letters, today, & said, here Stacey is your Letters with the Quartermasters, thanks for your kindness towards him. So by that I think, he had found out who wrote the Letter. I heard nothing more about it, so think he will do nothing. I think if you continue to Publish my letters, that you had better change the Letter to C, or any other you choose.

I shall expect to see you in Washington, this winter. Our Sergt says, we shall go to Washington & do Provost Duty1. It is reported all over Camp, that we shall move to W, & do guard Duty at the [Chain] Bridge. Lieuts Dreyer, who is clerk to the Brig Genl, says we have got marching orders [first]. Dont we hope it is so. what comfort we could take there. We are now right in Front & only two Regts here, with a Battery of 10 Guns.

I forgot to say that our whole Regt is here now. Our Regt with the 39th NY or Garibaldi Guards, is the only Infantry force here. If we are not careful, there will be a 2nd Harpers Fferry Scrape. we have had several Posts of cavalry taken this week. I can tell you something to your comfort. Picket Post are hardly ever Fired into, almost always, they are Sourrounded [sic] & taken Prisoners. The next Parole, I get will be not to take up arms against the CSA, during the war. Nothing else will suit me.

Will write again tomorrow. Did you send me a Shirt, in the last Trunk

Love to all



1 What was Provost Duty?:  Soldiers acting as military police, also acting as security for military installations and in civilian areas, for example in Washington DC, and other related duties.

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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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