Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

January 22, 1863

Camp near Centerville
Jan 22d 1863

Dear Father

I was glad to get a Letter from you this AM, on my Return from Picket.

We have had for two or three days past, a Regular Down South Storm. We was congratulating ourselves yesterday on our not having any Duty to do, when we got the order, at 3 PM, to get ready at 5 PM, to go on Reserve Picket, There is a Co that goes out every night to reinforce the Pickets.

We were the Lucky Co, last night. It had rained all day & was altogether the most Disagreeable night that I have seen since I have been in the Service. We got to our Post about 6 PM, Finding no kind of Shelter. we built a Fire & passed the most disagreeable [time], we have had on Picket, no place to sit down, Mud 4 inches deep, & raining hard. To day I have slept most of the Time, till 2 PM. There can be no Drilling such weather.

We hear nothing of being paid off, Lieut Green thinks we shall be paid off, this week. I am very glad you send me so many Papers. that is all I get to read. Without something to read, we should be bad off. Have you ever sent my name, to [Buckers] Independent. I thought he wanted all the Ministers sons names in the Army.

If I am paid off, you can do what you choose with the $40. Most of it would belong to you anyway. You need not send me the Republican except when my letters are in it. Charlie Cookingham of Lock Berlin is our Orderly. He makes a good Orderly though is quite young.

Jan 23d 6,30 AM. No more news this AM, I never fill out my diary, till the next morning, as we seem to expect something will happen during the night. I do not like to hear from home & that Mother & You are worrying so much about me. There is no use in it. I am sure there is no use in it. I an prospering finely, in every respect. I weigh at the least 145, what more can you ask. I[t] will take a great deal to make me sick. My Cold is well, no cough, & am not troubled with Head aches at all. When I got a letter from home & find Mother is Worrying so much about me, do you think that would make me any more Contented. I am trying to do my best, to take things as they come & make the best of it.

I do not have quite as much Duty to do, as formerly, Capt is more equally Dividing it. Tomorrow our Co & [ ], goes on Picket again, I presume I shall have to go this time. By going out Saturdays, we get rid of the Sunday morning Inspection, which I do not like any to well.

There is hardly an Officer or a Private in the Regt that is not sick of the Service, I do not know the reason why there is such General dissatisfaction, it seems to be among all. We hear nothing more about being paid off I am afraid we may be disapointed [sic], though I hope not. There is so much Confusion in the Tent, that I can not write.

I do not want any more Shirts, I have two over & two under Shirts now. You had ought to have been here when my Papers came, all wanted to borrow one.  After I read them, I never see them again.

When you go to the Village or City, I wish you would get me Some Emery Cloth. That is what I want, more than any thing else. The Government obliges us to keep our Guns just so clean, but furnish us nothing to do it with. This is a thick Foggy morning, everything Damp & Chilly

It is rumored here that our Sutler has been taken Prisoner. Hope it is so. He had made a great deal out of the Boys. Butter 25cts a lb cheese 25cts & everything like that

Hope to hear from you soon

Will write again tomorrow


Love to Maggie & Mother


Miss Rosa

I was glad to get a note from you yesterday, & will answer it now. I am glad to hear so good an account from you.

You may expect to see me, in September 1865 when my time is out, not before. The Gov, has played out on letting us go home. How would you like to see one Carrying the colors [to] the Red White & Blue, I suppose you will come to Auburn, & see the Bloody 111th, return all covered with [ ] & Glory. what do you think of my enlisting for 5 years in the Reg Service, after my time is out here.

Have you saved me a piece of Donation Cake when you are sitting down to the Table, dont forget your Brother, who is living on pork, hard Tack & Coffee. when Mother makes Pan Cakes, again, eat three for me & tell me when you did so I can enjoy them.

Squire Charles

How large a piece of the Bridge do you want me to send, I hope you do not want me to send the Bridge,

Why in the world dont you, tell me about Sarah, how is she getting along, I want to know how my sister is. It seems to me that you have a great deal of trouble with that Mule of yours, Dont he answer every purpose.

Charlie it is a good thing you did not enlist, you will think so when you see my Wounds & Scar’s Recd in the Service. It is a big Thing fighting for one’s Country, I am afraid there is but little Patriotism left in me. I do not know, how we could have any. Soldiers are treated like so many dogs by the Government, Why dont they pay us off. My wife & Children & suffering at home & can do nothing. You should go through the Regt at Dark & hear the wishes that I was home & then I could get a good Bed.


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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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