Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

August 31, 1862 – Camp Beardsly

Camp Beardsly
Harpers Ferry Va
Aug 31st 1862

Dear Father,

I received your letter from home and was glad to hear from you all, so soon,

Yesterday I received the Tribune. If you would Just as soon send me the weekly papers the Republican & Democrat I would much rather have them, as I see the New York papers the next morning after they are printed. The News Boys bring them into camp every morning at 6, so we are not much behind you as regards news.

I think this week there will be change of officers, Non Commissioned of course Our 2nd Lieutenant Granger1 from Sodus, was taken sick at Auburn, and could not come with us & I think it will be doubtful if he comes at all, if not that will [suit] me. The Captain told one of our Boys that there was to be a change in the corporals. We have two from Lyons that are regular Sap heads not fit for any Office, they are to be reduced or brought down lower, I am certain that I shall not, as I have been called on for duty several times when it was not my turn,

I have been Corporal of the Guard twice & Copr. of the Picket today, three one week, considering there are eight Corporals. The other day I was Corporal of the Guard, there was one over me & one under me The Officer of the Guard put me no. one, as he said I knew more about the work & gave me the change of the Guard.

Today Rank Corporal of the Picket Guard, Stationed of the Winchester Road, about three miles out [ ] responsible of the Posts, as men have been Shot at several times lately, here. I reported my men first and my place was Guarding one of the streets in the Village but I asked to have it changed to this place, where there would be something to do.

I have [found] Picket duty in the night is that to allow no one to pass us or cross the Track, If they refuse to stop when Hailed to take them Prisoners and bring them to the Ferry, Yesterday some of our boys brought in a Contraband, he was taken to the Colonels tent. He says the Jacksons Forces are within 5 miles of the Ferry, scouring the woods.

This I know that within a quarter of a mile of our camp there are Gurillas, as Signal lights are seen every night. All that separates the mountain from us is a little stream of water, I care not how full they are, I am not afraid.

We are within about 5 milesof Charl’stown, on the Winchester RR. I am sitting in my little tent now writing this, I just having relieved a man. The night is the time. A Picket’s duty is to lay down flat on his Stomach keep wide awaken not to whistle smoke speak out loud, and keep a good look out [slow], and lonely business.

On Friday night it was reported that Jackson was coming. 5 rounds of Cartridges was distributed to every man. I tell you some of the Guard was frightened that night every little noise disturbed them.

Enclosed I send you a Picture I have taken yesterday, It is a good picture, all but the Face it is all the kind they take here. I think I shall send Sarah one this week.

The boys think everything of Capt Holmes2 & Lieutenant [Moon], they gave them $65 to get each of them a Sword in N Y. Capt H cried when he thanked the Boys.

We see but little of Chaplain Brown3. There are almost a bushel of letters a day sent from this Regt short packets were distributed to us also stockings, Shirts & drawers. I shall not do my own washing as long as we are here & can get it done. I tell you we live all together different now. Mr Crowl is our Cook. Today we are going to a Farm house to get our dinner, it will be a change. Hoping to hear from you soon with love to Maggie Rosa Charlie & Mother

I remain

The boys all well
T Hooker has been sick

1? Granger, Erastus M.–age,?? Enrolled 7 Aug 1862 at Auburn to serve three years. Mustered in as second lieutenant, Co. D, 20 Aug 1862. Killed in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.

2 Sebastian D. Holmes  September 9, 1862 August 15, 1862 Discharged June 27, 1864.

3John N. Brown  September 9, 1862 August 15, 1862 Mustered out with regiment June 3, 1865.

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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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