Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

January 26 & 27, 1863

Camp Jim Walker
near Centerville

8,30 AM Jan 26th /63

Dear Father

I little expected to get a letter from you last night, but the Mail did not come. I think we shall get two months pay tomorrow or next day, Capt says we shall be paid Off, the first of this week certainly. You can see that we have changed the name of our Camp. It is named after a Palmyra Man, a member of the War Committee, of Wayne.

I had quite a talk with Capt, on Saturday last, about the Co, & every thing else. He says the reason he has not promoted me, was that I had been to free with the Men, did not keep aloof from them. He says I did not have enough control over them. Now I know better, there was not a Corporal in the Co, that the Men, would obey quicker than myself. He says he wants me, to keep, away from the men more, & that as soon as there was a Chance, he wanted to put me in Sergt. I can see from his actions, he would not consent to my going as Color Sergt. If I do not go as that, I shall not go as Color Guard.

it was intended last night to call us up on a False Alarm, why they did not do it, I can not tell. Yesterday the Provost Guard went out on the Battle Field again for a Body, There they saw, Artillery Tracks, & other Tracks looking like cavalry. as we have no Artillery there, this looked rather Suspicious. I think they did not call us out, as they thought we might be attacked.

My Post on Picket saturday, was the Bull Run Bridge. It is now partly torn up & could only be crossed by Infantry, & then, they would have to cross, part of the way, on the Sleepers. With our 7 men we could hold it, against 25 as we had a great Advantage of them. This Bridge was used by the Rebs, to bring their Troops to the Battle Fields.

During the night, Scouts, both of Cavalry & Infantry, were Skulking on the opposite Bank. Our Orders was to Shoot any man we might see, on the other side of the Creek. Enclosed I send you a piece of the Bridge. Capt says I have done wrong sending home letters, about the Officers. Be careful what you say, about the Capt, there are Spye’s [sic] there somewhere.

Today we have 4 hours Batallion Drill, how I dread it, 2 this AM, & 2 in the PM, this is a Thick Foggy morning one of your miserable Days. Yesterday was a Beautiful Day, the Birds were singing here like Spring, It was more Like Sunday, than I have seen in a long time. Yesterday PM we had Review, the Preaching, the Dress Parade. Capt says, McDougal wants to get us well Drilled, then push us right in front. He says, he should not be surprised if we were ordered to the Front before long.

I was very glad to get thse Papers, from home, the only trouble was, I could not keep them long enough to read. The boys all wanted to read them. I shall try to get on Provost Duty, in a day or two, so to go on the Battle field, as the most of the Field Lies outside of the Pickets. I shall hope to hear from you today

Love to all



Camp Jim Walker

Jan 26th /63
4,30 PM

Dear Father

I have just recd two letters from you also the Papers. I will answer them immediately. today we were to be reviewed by Genl Casey, but is has rained all day, so it is postponed until tomorrow. I little dreaded this as, we want to do well at such times, though for the present it would not be for our interest to do so, for the sooner, we are well Drilled, the sooner we are shoved in Front.

Some say we are to be paid Off, this week, tomorrow, or next day, though I am doubtful. I will give Mr Brown, the Papers you send when I read them.

27th 9,30 AM

It is a good Plan your getting your Life Insured. though I am afraid you will not get more than $20, from here if I am paid off. McDougal is not Col yet, there is some talk of a Man by the name of Richardson, from Syracuse, being the next Col. We hope it will not be so.

We fare about the same that we always have, not Drawing half of our Rations, that we are entitled to. I hear nothing more from the QM. I have no grease, for my boots, though we can get [mutton] Tallow. our Sutler keeps almost everything but he charges so much, that we can not afford to patronize him.

I hear nothing about Capt’s resigning, think there is no Truth in it. There is no Chance to send the Trunk to Washington. There is no Conveyance from here.

I was on Guard yesterday & last night, But am writing now, when I ought to be asleep. It is snowing very hard today, & is muddy & miserable Weather. it snowed & rained all night. Friday we are to have an Inspection by Brig Genl Hayes, it will be a rigid one. Tomorrow we have to go on Picket again, Last night our Co, went out on Reserves, returning this AM.

A Party of Strangers, visiting their Friends in this Regt, went out on the Battle Field, How I wished You were in the Party. Is is very seldom that you can get a chance to go outside of the Lines. First our Col, would have to write a Pass, for them, then D Utasse, Commdt of Post would have to sign it, then Brig Genl Hayes. so much for Red Tape.

Those Rebel Deserters, were Brought in here the other day. Some of our Officers think, we shall be ordered in Front, before long & others, that we shall remain here. If you ever intended coming to visit me, I should rather have you come here, than any other place. If you come here you could go out & see the Battle field, which I do not doubt you would like. You never would get such a chance again. Through your Friends in Washington you could get a Pass, from W, here.


Do you think it is any new Complaint of yours being Lazy, Now I am serious. If you want to send me anything, you can. All I want is Stockings. Army Socks, only last a week. that is all I want to wear. I am not going to carry so much around the Country, after this it is played out.

I have given up being Color sergt, I know Capt would not consent it. Dont ask me why I dont want Green for Capt. He is to proud to live now what would he be then. May the Lord spare me from ever seeing this Co, under Sodus Administration.

Do not think I have went to church, with you for the last time, I shall return next Spring But not to stay long, if you do not buy that farm, I am going West, to work on the RR. that is the First thing I am going to do.

Give my love to Rosa, I will write to her next time, Kiss Maggie for me, & tell her not to forget Manley

Will write 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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