Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 24, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 24th
5,30 AM

Dear Father

There is but little news in Camp this morning, but I thought I would write a few lines. the Paymaster, came here yesterday & I suppose, will commence paying off the Brigade, today. It made the boys, feel a great deal better, when they heard, the Paymaster was here.

Yesterday, it rained hard all day, so we had a little rest. Yesterday, several Guns, in the Regt, were Fired during the day, The boys are getting, very Careless, & if this were not put a stop to, some one would get hurt. so the Col, had, all the Cos, turned out, & asked every one, Did you fire that Gun.  He got the same answer all through the Regt.

There has been a standing order, to have Canteens & Haversacks, fille every night, This morning the Col, thought he would see, how the order, was lived up too [sic], so he sent the men back to Quarters, for Canteens, but found very few Canteens filled.

It is a Damp Cold day here, today, So I hardly think, the Garibaldi, will be hung.

today Things look now here, as if we would not leave this place. Just as soon as we get paid off, I shall send home, the $30, for you to come down here. If you do come, I wish you would being me the following things. a good Pocket knife, two blades, some more of that fine Emery Paper, 3 or 4 pairs of thin Summer, Stockings, a knife, Fork & Spoon, Separate, Mother can send these. Also a little Black linen thread, a few Shiny Buttons & a Paper of Pris. I can not think, of any thing else, I want, just at Present. I shall hope to see you, before many weeks, if Francisco is coming, you could come down with him. I think you have Friends enough, in Washington, to get a pass to cross the Potomac. All the advice I have to give is, not to carry any Whiskey concealed about you, for it might get you in a scrape.

Yesterday was a miserable kind of Day here, I wished myself home a great many times. I had the Tooth Ache most of the Day. I have been troubled a great deal lately, some of my Teeth, are hollow & are Decayed bad. A great many of the boys, are troubled, with Sore Mouth, I think caused by the Saltpeter in the Pork. It has [bothered], me but a little.

Well I must Close, this Apology of a letter

Love to all



Camp Hayes
Co D 111th Regt
April 24th
6,50 PM

Dear Father

I never asked you, if you had any trouble in reading my letters, When I write, there is either a noise & confusion or I am in a hurry.

Today it has rained all day until about 5 PM, when it cleared up & now the Sun is shining bright. The Grass is, staying up & the Country looks beautiful. Our best time is now coming for soldiering, that is if we have no Fighting or marching to do. I am feeling tip top tonight, never felt better. When a man knows he is doing his Duty he must feel good.

While I am writing this the Brigade Band is playing. We are to have Scotts Band from Rochester. I have signed 50cts a month, towards it, & would give more, for the privilege of hearing some good music. Scott charges $500 a month, for his band of 12 members. A pretty good price, for music. At last we are to get our Pay, today the PM is paying the 125th & tomorrow we are to be paid off. We signed the pay [Rolls]. It is wonderful, how great a change, a little change, makes with a man.

I received your letter of the 20th, this PM, with the Stamp & Postage Currency, enclosed. My Impression now is that we shall remain in this Camp & continue doing Picket Duty. Things look like it now. I should like the Green Tea, but could not you send it by some one, instead of sending it by mail.  I am sorry to hear such an account from Charlie, I have great Hopes in him, If I should fall I want him to take my place.

There has been some talk, for a few Days past of Co Ds, being Detached, & go to Guard the RR, between Union Mills & Warrenton. We have full, possession of the RR, to Warrenton. Hookers Supplies are to be sent this way, as Hookers right rests at Culpepper. So this will be an important Road, to hold. If Hooker, has fight now, & needs Reinforcements, we be most certain, to be called on.

I received the lead Pencil & was very glad to get it. It will not be necessary to change the Direction of any Letters, only the Division & no of Brigade 3d. I do not think you would like being Chaplain of a Regt, it is a Thankless Place.

The weather was to stormy today, to hang the Garibaldi, but I hope they will hang him soon. I think I will write a short note to the Rep, when that is done. I am glad to think the Col, has such a good opinion of me, I trust I shall always deserve it. the more I see of Col, Mac, the better I like him. He is the Right man, in the right place.

Feb 25th 5,45 AM. There is but little news in Camp this morning, only the Pay Master commences paying our Regt off, this morning, well we shall be glad to get it.

Love to all


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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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