Remembering Lincoln today: I just finished transcribing a letter from a soldier in the Civil War, Manley Stacey. This letter was written during the days of the Battle of Gettysburg:
Camp near Gettysburg Pa
July 2nd 1 PM
Having a few leisure moments, I thought I would write a little.
We left Union Town, yesterday morning at 7 AM & our Regt was detailed to Guard the Ammunition & Baggage Train. We marched to Taney Town & halted a few moments, when we were Ordered to this Place. After a very hard March, we arrived within 2 miles of here, at 6 PM, last night & slept until 3 AM this morning, when we started for the Battle Ground.
When we Camped last, we could see the wounded, coming in, those that were able to walk, & the Cavalry Horses, coming in Riderless, this showed us that something was going on. Of course, we heard any quantity of Rumors, but believed but little.
This morning at 7 AM, we were Drawn up in Line of Battle, to support a Battery, & we now are laying in the Rear of it We are in the Centre of the Line, As yet there has been no heavy Fighting today, Skirmishing has been going on all the morning.
The Garibaldis were out this morning & have 41 Wounded & 1 killed, also 2 Officers. We have not been Ordered out yet to Skirmish though I am expecting it every moment.
There has been a lull, in the Fighting, since 11 AM, & now it has almost ceased, Either, the Rebs are Retreating, or they are trying to Flank us, they hold a Strong Position, about a mile from us, across a Valley, in a piece of woods & have been trying [Drive] us on, there they Strongly Intrenched [sic] & want to Fight us there,
It is reported that McClellan is coming up with 50,000 Militia, in the rear, if this is so, we may Bag them. If the Reports are all true, we have taken about 1000 Prisoners this morning.
I think this will be an awful battle, very soon & of course we are in for it. 300 Rebs gave themselves up yesterday & said they would fight no more, It is reported that they are Fighting on our left now, & are trying to Flank us. I think most of Hookers, Army is here now.
Barney, Aleck & [Al] are all well, our Boys are all right yet,
The Col, made us a Speech this morning, & told us he wanted us to wipe out the Harpers Ferry Disgrace & show Old [Troopers] how we could fight.
It is a sad sight to see the Wounded brought in on stretchers, the poor Boys all covered with Blood & as pale a Death.
I shall write to you as often as possible, until this is settled, one way or the other. If the Rebs do not make a Stand here & fall back into Maryland or Virginia, we shall follow them up, then the Marching will commence.
If you should see our Regt, to day you would think they looked, but little like Band Box Soldiers.
I am at present acting Sergt, my place is behind the Ranks to keep them closed up.
Yesterday we drew our Corps Badge, I will send you one home, for a sample & would like to have you make me one of Blue Velvet, & bind it with Red.
I have written you 3 letters the past week, I do not know whether you will get them all or not, we marched through a beautiful country yesterday, the best I have seen since I left home.
I am now Bunking with Charlie Cookingham, who I like better as a Comrade than the others. I am getting very anxious to hear from Home, as I have not heard in over a week.
I hope this thing will soon be settled & we Rest awhile for I am tired out.
July 3rd 10 AM. Now I have some sad news to write, Last night at 4 PM, we were ordered to March & form in Line of Battle on our left, After a great deal of Confusion, we got formed & when we 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 & 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, & the Blood was spalling [sic] all over my face, it perfectly Blinded me.
We were then Ordered, to fall back, as it was to hot for us, which we did in good Order We then laid in Line Battle all night, being Ordered up twice, besides this every thing passed off quietly.
The next morning at 6 AM We were Ordered to Skirmish, in front of the Batteries, We have had some pretty sharp Skirmishing, for a little whiles [sic] though none of us got hurt. The fight the night before, We had one man killed Michael [P…], Thomas Hooker was wounded, though he was left for Dead on the Field. He is now quite smart & will soon be well again.
Altogether we had 10 men missing that Night, On the 4th 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, & killing the men all around me, 3 men were killed & thrown across me, covering me with blood. While we were laying here, a shell struck a Stone in the wall, & killed a man throwing the man across my legs & the stone striking me in the back & doubling me up,
I got up & got down to the Hospital, so lame that I could hardly straighten up. I had been here but a few moments, when Capt Holmes came down. He was shot through the elbow, & was bleeding badly, I bandaged up his Arm the best I could. I then got him carried to a hospital, & have stayed with him until this morning.
the 5th 11 AM. Capt is now at the Private house & is doing well. Lieut Granger is Dead he was shot through the right breast & lived but a few hours. Aleck Williams, Barney Francisco, are all well Albert hunt has a wound in the wrist, which will not disable him long.
We have got about 18 men now in the Co fit for Duty & 150 in the Regt. We went in the fight with over 400, & have yet now 150.
I am now all right, Having been through the biggest Battle of the War. I will write soon again
Love to all
November 19, 1863
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.