Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

August 29, 1862

Camp Hill
Harpers Ferry Va
Aug 29th
5,30 AM

Dear Charlie

I received a letter from home yesterday, it caused a considerable excitement the first news from home. You said that they were getting up another Company [ ] [yours] Who is to be the Captain. Yesterday afternoon I got a pass to go in swimming, and went up to see the 126 Regt, or the one from Geneva. There I saw Jessie Cooley, H [ ] Shellborn George Warfield, & several other boys. They are Camped but a little ways from here I am glad of that, it will be more pleasant. We heard yesterday that the 2d Wayne Co Regt was coming here.

Today I go on, [Picket], up the Balt & Manchester RR, between here & Charlstown. The Boys all like to go on Picket, all the duty I have is Corporal of the Picket which is to say that the boys do not get to sleep and that they do their duty. Picket duty is one hour on and Four off.

If I should tell you all the Rumors that I hear in camp, you would hear news enough, but half that is reported is not true. We have hardly got settled yet, in Camp yet. Yesterday was the first decent living that we have had, Mr Crowl bought a Teapot, & some other things, and cooked for us, he made Coffee. I tell you we are all right. He can make, good Coffee. A great deal depends on our warm drink. Give us good Coffee sea biscuit, & I can live, I can not [go] the Pork & Beef that they have here I tell you, we were [used] [rough] the first few days we were here only one ration a day, and that, bread, I could not got along if I had not went outside to get my meals. the first day I was here, I went down the village at 9 PM, & got my dinner, had nothing to eat since the night before, I relished that meal.

Our duties now is Roll call at 5 AM, Go down to wash at 5,30 Drill at 6 to 7 7,30 Breakfast, and drills when we get settled. We have divided ourselves in [ ] of 15 to a tent. In ours there is, Myself, [Elick] Williams1, Barry F, A Hunt Billy [Waters?]2 Bill Sharp3 John Fishback4, P Crowl5 Tom Hooker6, & several more. We are right having Crowl in our mess.

It is a splendid place here early in the morning, & evening. Nights it is awful cold. The Potomac is right in sight of our camp, or in sight of where I write. It is no peace to write in Camp so much confusion. I asked Crowl what I should say for him, he says tell them we are all in to it here, he is busy as a Bee. The Boys are all well, not one of them have been sick, though & [ ] afraid bottle of medicine, that Father got of Huff. it is just the thing for the [Diarreah].

Hoping to hear from you soon

1? Williams, 2d, Alexander B.–age,19 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. D, 20 Aug 1862; wounded in action, 14 Oct 1863, at Bristoe Station, VA.; promoted corporal, 1 Apr 1864; sergeant, no date; captured in action, 22 Jun 1864, at Petersburg, VA.; died, 17 Sep 1864, while a prisoner of war. Commissioned, not mustered, second lieutenant, 20 Jul 1864, with rank from 16 Jun 1864, vice E.Van Dervere, killed in action.
2 Waters, William–age,20 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. D, 20 Aug 1862; discharged for disability, 28 Feb 1864, at Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, VA.
3Sharp, William W.–age,21 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Died, 7 Nov 1862, at Chicago, IL.
4 Fishback, John P.–age,21 Enrolled 9 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Mustered in as corporal, Co. D; promoted sergeant major, 1 Sep 1863; wounded in action, 6 May 1864, at The Wilderness, VA.; mustered in as first lieutenant, Co. H, 4 Dec 1864.
5? Crowell, Jr., Solomon–age,18. Enlisted 5 Aug 1862 at Palmyra to serve three years. Discharged for disability 15 Jun 1863.
6 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.

Civil War timeline:
August 29 to 30: Pope’s Campaign: At the second battle of Bull Run, Union general John Pope was defeated by 55,000 troops under Stonewall Jackson. After Pope’s retreat to Washington, Lincoln relieved him of his command.

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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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