Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

February 20, 1863

Camp Hayes

Feb 20th 7 PM

Dear Mother

I received yours of Monday, this PM, after Batallion Drill & was glad to hear from you again.

You ask me about how I came to owe so much money, it is this way, I bought the Revolver, for $4,00, & Two Shirts of one of the Boys, at $2,00 a Piece, that [threw] me a little behind. This is Square now, & I shall take good care, never to owe any more Money, while in the Army. the reason why I sent $15,00 home, I thought Father would need it all, If I had not thought he would have needed it, I would have kept it more. Capt Seeley of Co A, came from Washington yesterday, & he says we shall be paid off again the first of next month, If so then I shall hope to do better.

Feb 21st 8AM

This is our Holiday, & washing day, you may be sure we are not sorry. It takes a whole day to get ready for Inspection, We have to black our Boots, clean up the Buttons on our Coat, Black our Cartridges Boxes, & Belt, & altogether have a great deal to do. I have given up writing once this morning, as I could think of no News, I think I will send this Note, by Mr Baker, who returns with the remains of his Son. Enclosed I send 2 Cartridges for Charlie. I have nothing to send Home, if I had would send it. I will write again as soon as there is any news.

Love to all


Miss Rosa

I think you are shaming Charlie by writing such good Letters, he will have to hurry up Matters, of I will disown him. I have not found the Venus yet, & am afraid I shall have to wait until I get to Beaufort or farther South. It would not look well to send a Nig from here.  Well I must close, lots of work to do today. Kiss Maggie for me & tell her Manley sent his Love.


Feb 21st 6,30 PM

I did not send any thing Home this AM, by Mr Baker, for the very good reason, he was not going to Lyons, but intended stopping at Newark. There is a Dearth of News just now in Camp, nothing going on. The officers, now in Camp, nothing going on.

The Officers, now have, Caps all alike, with Gold Brown on they are very Stylish. If I am Promoted to Sergt, I shall have to get me a nice Military Cap, as the one I now have is getting rather Shabby, it having seen over 6 months active Service. Just to think, the 6th of next month, we will have been in Service 7 months, 2 years & 5 months more. These will be one joyful day for Co D, & that is when we are mustered out of the Service. All agree to that.

Tomorrow is Inspection, today we have been preparing for it, & fixing up the Tent, & now we are all sitting around the Candle, writing Home.

Monday is Picket duty again, I rather like that, it is better than staying in Camp. Tomorrow, the 22d, is Washington’s Birthday, 22 Guns are to be Fired from the Battery, in Honor of it.

Tonight we have all been wondering what we were doing one year ago tonight, I have come to the Conclusion, that I was taking a Trip down the Central, & a little dreaming of even being here. We have all wondered how we would like to go in Lyons, I thought I would like to go in church, when Father was preaching & take a Seat with You, do you think he would stop, or wouldnt he mind so much. any rate I would like to try him. I should be a little afraid of you. Whenever I come home, If I ever come, it will be unexpected, I would like to take you by Surprise, & step in just in time for supper, if It would not be too much trouble.

The Col undertook to compel us, not to buy any thing from any other Sutler, but our own. He would not let the Boys go out, except for water & then only at one place. that would not work however, the Boys wanted Water too often. there are 4 or 5 other sutlers on the Place, & the boys will not Patronize him.

We hear nothing more about moving, guess it is Played out, we dont hope so however, we are anxious to move some where or other, dont care much where

Hoping to hear from You soon


Charles Henry Augustus Stacey

Well Charlis I must write a few lines to you I suppose, though I have not heard from you in some time. what in the world is the Matter with you, why don’t you write me a good long Sesible letter. Now just try it, all the news. I am still as lazy as ever, & hope this letter will find you in the same situation.

Charlie did I ever describe our Child of the Regt. He belongs to Co F, is only 6 feet 7 inches high, & is the most over grown specimen of humanity I ever saw. The boys call him Dutch.

I think our Sutler will close up Business before long, the Boys are Drawing every thing away from him. Since he has been here the boys have taken away from him, 2 cheeses, 300 Plugs of Tobacco, 3 Boxes of Cakes & lots of other things, So you see his profits are reduced a Little.

We have great times nights, after Taps, singing, you can hear it all over the Regt. One Song is, sung a great deal here the Battle Prayer of freedom. Have you got that Catalogue of Songs yet, if so send it to me, if not send me one of the Songs.

We have got 4 Drummers now in the Regt, the youngest about your size, & is the Pet, of, them all. The Drummers life here is not so easy here, two of them have to go on Picket every time, so to Beat the Rally in Case of trouble. You may congratulate yourself on being out of this, you are better off at Home.

Well I must close Tattoo
Good night

M T Stacey

Feb 22, 7,30 AM

Charlie when I wrote you last night there was no snow on the Ground, now there is 8 inches on a Level & snowing fast. Thank God I am not on duty today.

Al & I have just got our Breakfast, while the others are laying sleeping. This is a lovely day.

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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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