September 23, 1862
Camp Douglas Ill
Co D 111 Regt
I suppose you would like to hear a little from me, again.
Last Tuesday night we had orders to cook three day rations, during the night. The best of it was, our three Days rations consisted of one ration of Beef & one of Potatoes. At 3,30 wednesday morning we got up & prepared to march, & got the best breakfast we could under the circumstances.
...We left the Camp about 6,30 for Annapolis, there we took the Boat for Baltimore. After a very warm & uncomfortable ride we arrived at Baltimore about 2,30 PM, then after some delay marche’d to the Balt & Harrisburg RR Left Balt at 9 AM, There I made friends with the Fireman, & fired for him 30 or 40 miles, had a good time with him, We arrived at Harrisburg about 6 AM, There we changed Engines & started for Pittsburg [sic]
I enjoyed myself very much on the trip riding on top of the cars, from H to Pittsburg is a very hilly country. the Road runs along the bank of the Susquehanah River. At [Atoona] we changed Engines & staid there one or two hours. Here the Citizens brought us out some sandwiches & Coffee which tasted good to us, after our rations of salt Pork & Crackers. From there we rode all night & arrived at Pittsburg, about 5 AM,
There we marched to a large hall and had our Breakfast, of Coffee Crackers Sausages Cheese, & Pickels [sic], furnished by the Citizens. Then took the Pittsburg Fort Wayne & Chicago RR for Chicago. After we got started, I got another Engine & fired again for a few miles.
At New Brighton the Ladies turned out, en masse, & brought us [pris] cakes, apples & grapes. A little maid brought me a nice Loaf of Bread, already spread with Butter, I left my Card with her, At every little place as soon as the Train stopped, the Ladies Brought us Bread, [Pris] & Apples. One thing is certain we are used better here, than we were even in our own State, Rode all night again, & got on the Engine 54 & fired a while to get an appetite for my Hard Tack, as the Boys call the Crackers,
We arrived at Fort Wayne, about 9 AM. Then I got off, to have a good wash, There I met a young lady, who invited three or four of us over to get Breakfast charging us nothing, left another card, We left Fort Wayne about 12, 30 AM, At Wausau the Ladies turned out again & Brought us some good things, Some of the Young Ladies brought some warm Tea & Coffee, for the Sick, The Boys were all taken sick all to [sic] once, so as to get some tea,
In the afternoon passed over some [ ] We arrived at Chicago about 10,30 last night, then marched up to our present Camp, arriving here about 12 AM. This Camp they say will Accommodate 15000, men it is a splendid place, if it was clean, you can imagine how clean it would be 8000 Rebel Prisoners living here the last week.
...Hoping to hear from you soon, & that you will send me $5.00 & oblige
Nineteen year old Manley Stacy was a Corporal in the Union Army during the Civil War and served in the 111th New York Volunteer Infantry, Company D. The young man was a prolific writer and "over 200 letters, written between August 13, 1862 and December 17, 1863," were donated to the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest by the Hulbert family who had settled in Oak Park in the 1800s. The Stacey family and Hulberts were "kin." The frail letters have survived, but are now being scanned and transcribed to preserve their content.
Advanced technology easily handles the scanning. It is the transcribing, the painstaking word by word record of the letters' content that is the hardest task. Poor spelling, obscure references, often unreadable words make the task herculean and requires the patience of Job. But, history in caring hands will find a way and our good friend Marty Hackl has undertaken the task. You might want to read why.
Marty is posting the letters as they are transcribed at Manley Stacey Civil War Letters. After checking out Marty's site, the new set of Civil War links will provide additional information about Chicago during the Civil War. As always, new resources will be added as they are found.
Manley Stacey courtesy of Marty Hackl
Rebel Prisoners: Harper's Weekly, April 5, 1862 (The Civil War; Camp Douglas)