Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

August 13, 1862 (first letter) Camp Halleck

Camp Halleck
August 13-th
9 pm

Dear Father,

We arrived at Port Byson at 12,30 yesterday, after a pleasant ride, and marched to the village of P.B. Then we hired a team to [?] [ ], paying 40 cts a piece, arr at- 4 AM, from here we marched to the barracks and at 6 PM had our supper. At 830 retired but not to sleep, there was a great deal of talking and laughing, got to sleep at midnight.

Got up this AM at 5,30 when Roll was called. I was appointed Corporal of Squad to get Rations & Coffee for the [mess] of 8 [and] then wash dishes.

Tom was Corporal for Squad 4 and I for No 5. I think most likely I shall have to go on guard tomorrow. Which is 2 hours on & 4 hours off, for 24 hours. [Seamson’s] son* is on guard today, so is Albert Hunt**.

We have 4 boys from 20 [ ] at [ ] splendid singers, which passes off time very pleasantly.

I bunk with [A] Williams [Barney] [f], with N Hunt Y Hooker*** with Mr. [Crowl] says he got [Elick] & I under his care. He is well & seems to enjoy himself very well.

We are very fortunate in getting him in our Company. I have made arrangements to [mess] with him.

I think I shall not go down in the city today. I am sorry Charly did not come with this company to [ ]. we can hear nothing about our going away, Except that the [ ] [ ] is coming here the 21st of Aug, so I think we will leave here before that.

Please bring some more of these Testaments, the Boys want them, you see them laying around in the Bank reading them.

I have got [no] Tooth Powder. when we elect officers I can not tell.

Love to All

*? Seaman, James M.–age,23 Enlisted 2 Aug 1862 at Port Byron to serve three years. Discharged, 22 Aug 1863, at Alexandria, VA.

** Hunt, Albert A.–age,18 Enlisted 9 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Wounded in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.; discharged, no date.

***? Hooker, Thomas–age,19 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Wounded in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.; captured in action, 22 Jun 1864, at Petersburg, VA.; died, no date, while a prisoner of war.

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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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