Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 1 & 2, 1863

Camp Hayes
6 AM April 1st 63

Dear Father

I received yours of the 24th & 27th yesterday, One with a $1,oo Bill & some Postage Currency, & the other 4 Stamps in. I received the Ague Pills, & will take care of them. I want you to keep a full account of all the money you send me, for in these hard times, I do not want you to be anything out. I think I have received all the Postage currency, you have sent, for almost every Letter, I have got some money. You ask me who I think opened my Letter, I am certain it was not the Boys in my Squad. I think it was done, by Catlin who carries the Mail. I have no Proof however.

I am hoping to get a Furlough, but am placing no dependence on it. The Col & all the officers might sign one, & then Heintzman refuse to sign it. However I shall hope.

Today I go on Picket, with 6 men, so I have but little time to write. There would be no such thing as Borrowing the Money, I should like to be Paid off, first. Those letters that I sent home, I made here, from a Rebs Bone, found on the Battle Field, 17th Georgia CS Army. That was the Inscription on the Head Board.

I do not, nor have I calculated, when I return home, to come to Lyons, I have never Calculated, on that.

Night before last, one of the 125th guard Shot one of the Keystone Battery Boys, for not Halting when challenged. the Ball went through his ankle. You could hear his Cries, all over the Ground. This is the way, shoot our own men, but not the Rebs.

I will write again on my return from Picket

Love to all


(in the top margin of the first page) H Carr has got his Discharge & is home

On Picket, Reserve Post
2nd Section, april 1st
9,30 PM

Charles Henry Augustus

I will now answer your last letter, in which you threaten so much, if I ever write such insulting letters as you call them. Now Charles, you will live to know the Truth of what I write. When your Brother, who is older & has seen more of the World, than you gives you advice, you should be very grateful. Now I do not want you to be too Obstropulous, or I may order you in Irons. Now will obey Me. Talk about your Family I think they trouble you a great deal, by your wanting to come off & leave them, You have got all you can [to] tend too [sic], if you see that my Family do not suffer.

Well things are moving off in Camp, about the same as usual, the same Routine, Picket, Camp Guard & Drill I never liked Rainy days until I enlisted, now they are Holidays, if we are lucky enough not to be on Duty. Talk about a man, getting lazy in the Army, it is just possible. I am actualy [sic] tired all the time, Come off Picket at PM, go on Battallion Drill from 2 to 4,30 PM, Double Quick at that, then Dress Parade at 5 PM, when you must have your Boots Polished & Gloves White & clean. And then to cap it all, it almost always happens, that we have an alarm in the middle, of the night.

Then there is another thing, we have to sleep, with Pants & some times Boots on. how do you think a mans Rest can do him any good, under such circumstances. If I ever should, come home, I expect I should, be getting up in the middle of the night, & think the long Roll was beating. I should most likely, pull you out of Bed, & tell you to fall out. Charlie, this Picketing is lovely business, the orders, strictly forbidding, a man to sleep, so I have to write to keep awake. Now of all times, we have to keep wide awake, It was reported that the Rebs, are falling back this way, & so we must be prepared for them.

Enclosed I send you in this a Piece, of the Wooden guns that the Rebs, manned the Forts, around here with. They were, made of Oak logs shaped like a Canon, then scorched Black, These were the Pieces since called Quaker Canon, that Frightened McClennan [sic] so. I would give a small Farm (not my 160 Acres) if you could see the miles of Earth Works, the Rebs have thrown up here, also the Forts, around here.

My Post this time, is Head Quarters in an old House owned by a Good Union Man, Flagler. He was confined in Richmond Prison 6 months. He had 300 Acres of land, but everything is Destroyed., the Gov, even had to move him to Washington. This House was Built in 1803. there is a Fire Place in every Room. It was once an old mansion, but is now almost destroyed. Talk about chimneys, how would you like, to see some, 4 feet through, & 10 feet wide. All of the chimneys here are built on the outside of the Houses. Now Charlie, I have taken a great deal of pains, to write this Letter, I am sitting in the Corner, by an old Fire Place, with a very poor fire, writing to you, Now see if you can do as well by me

Remember me to your Friends



On Picket April 1st
Reserve Post 12 midnight

Dear father

I have written quite a long letter to night to Charlie, & shall hope that all trouble is settled in that quarter.

This is lovely Business, sitting up all night, & keeping awake. We have just been visited by the Grand Rounds, they told us, that the news, had come to Camp, that a Rebel [Mail] had left there today, & would most likely try to pass our lines, somewhere. what is the use of that, they can go through if they chose. we have just got news from a Post on our Left, that a man had come up, to their Post Mounted & that they had let him Pass most likely it was that Mail. See what the [Carelessness] of that Corporal has done.

I was very glad to hear, that DuTassi had been Dismissed the Service. Prehaps [sic] you have not heard all the charges, that was preferred against him. In the first place, he drew Pay, for his Brothers, 6 months before they left, Germany, 2nd Sergts acted as Lieuts, & he drew the Extra Pay, he also picked up about 50 Guns, on the Battle field, had them cleaned up, then sold them out to Visitors. I could not write all the charges against him. Did I ever tell you of the Trip I had once with him, I was his Orderly one day, on Provost Guard & he wanted me, too [sic] Black his Boots, I told him I did not enlist to black boots, so I would not do it. He said you no Black my Boots Hey, Says I, no Sir.  Our Col, reduced a Corp in the Regt, for that.

6,15 AM April 2d. All had been quiet during the night, it was a Beautiful Moonlight night, clean & Still, just the night, for Picketing. Now the wind is blowing up again, & will soon snow. Now while I write this, I & the Sentry are the only ones awake on the Post. Lieut Granger, being fast asleep. To be sure it is Daylight, but then all had not ought, to sleep at once.

It is now pretty certain, that the Mail did go through, yesterday afternoon. the man that they passed through, had a Pass signed by Heintzman & Casey, Dated yesterday, now when you see we are at least 40 miles from Washington, that He went through about 4 PM, that these Officers, sign no Passes, before 11AM, you will see the thing is impossible. This man had no Side Arms on, & that he pretended, to be one of the cavalry, who just wanted to go out a short distance, to make some Cavalry Picket Posts. The Regulations, strictly says, a man, must have his, side Arms on, when on Duty. so you see, what a Fool, that Corp, was, & how much depended, on his doing his Duty. Even Corporals have some Responsiblility on their Shoulders. Thank God, it was not our Regt, it was the 125th NY. They never will get me in such a Scrape. I know my Duty, too well. The Capt who had Comand [sic] of the Section, will most likely get, Cashiered, through it.

There is some talk of our being Paid off, this week, I hope we may.

Last Sunday, I took a Stroll around Centerville, I called on an old Slave holder who has always lived here, he Professes to be a Good Union man. He has three Daughters, but they are out & out Secesh. One of them Said, My husband is Fighting for the CSA, & I glory in it. Dont you think that Strong. I had a very interesting talk, with the old Gentleman, & learned a great deal, about this Place. His House was Head Quarters, for both Federal & Rebel Officers.

7,15 PM April 2nd

Father I was Relieved from Picket this AM, at 10, got to Camp, at 12. This PM we had a very hard Battallion Drill, we marched, about 2 miles in a rough woods, then Fired about 20 Rounds of Blank Cartridges, being drawn up in line of battle. We then Drilled in marching in Retreat, Changing Baynets &c &c, till I was completely tired out. No sleep last night, & then Drill hard this PM. Today Lieut Green said we, should be Paid off, tomorrow, or next day, I think we shall get it this week certain.

Lieut Green told me to night, that he had read a letter, from You, asking a Furlough for me. He said he spoke to the Col, about it, & the Col said, if I could get a Certificate from the Doctor, he would give me the Furlough, Green spoke the the Doctor, & he says he cant do that. Green says he thinks Col, will give me the Furlough, that he would do his best to get it for me. I think that if there is any such a thing, Green will get it. However do not expect me, till you see me. I should like to be paid off, & the get it. Green says I could not get one for more than 20 Days. I told him if I could not get one as long as that I should not go. I shall go & see the Chaplain tomorrrow.

I will write you as soon as anything turns up.

Love to all Manley

got a letter from J [Voak] today all well

I will write to Rosa next time

Kiss Maggie for me.

Tags :

No Comments

(will not be published) (required)

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."

The Letters

Recent Comments

Friends and supporters