Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

September 15, 1862

Camp Beardly
Harpers Ferry Va
Co D 111 Regt
Sep 15th

Dear Charlie

I will now give you a little history of our life here.  It is, Roll call at 5, breakfast 5:30, Drill from 6, to 7, 30, Drill from 9 to 10, for Non Commissioned Officers.  Dinner at 12 PM, Squad Drill from 4 to 5,30, Dress Parade at 6, 15, lasting generally 45 minutes after that supper, Roll Call 8,30 PM Lights extinguished at 9 PM

So you see we have enough to do, it is rather tedious, handling Gun’s. For the past two or three day’s we have been drilling with the Manual of Arm’s.  This is not near as hard as Marching,  though it is hard enough.

Now as to fare Our Breakfast is Crackers Coffee, and pork or Beef.  Dinner Beef or Rice Soup, & Crackers,  Supper Tea Crackers & Cold Meat,  We will have Rice & Molasses, as soon as we get something to cook it in, that will go pretty good.  As it is, it is rather tedious, The Coffee & Tea is good but we miss the Milk,

There has been a considerable excitement here for the past few days, We have had orders for the past few nights, to sleep on our Arms, Cartridges Boxes & everything all ready to get up at a moments notice. Yesterday the First Maryland Cavalry returned here, having been driven back, towards Winchester, They returned with out hats, [ S ling] along all in confusion. Colonel Segoin, said that, if we were attacked, he would not draw us up in a line of Battle, but let us fight on our own [ ]. We could do nothing any other way, I am afraid some would run, when we got into action.

They are all talking about which way Jackson would come, that is all we hear.  For my part it troubles me but a little.

Father asked me, about my getting the Mail.  We get Mail every day at three in the afternoon, the Captain distributes it as soon as it comes in,  As to papers I should prefer the Lyons Papers, I see the Baltimore & Phil, Papers every day.

I should not be surprised if we went into action, very soon. There are a great many Troops stationed here now.  A great many from Winchester.  I should think there was 15, or 20,000.  It was quite a Sight to see, the [ tting] Drill. The 8th New York Cavalry, is here now,  There is some in that from Lyons I think.  We are fast here, here now, there is no such thing as getting a pass to go down in the Village.

Capt Holmes is Officer of the Day, today, Seargt Granger was here yesterday, received a letter from home, by him.  It is very warm here days, & very cold nights.

When any thing [occurs] I will keep you posted.  I hope you [will do the same] by me, Some of the Boys are very [discontented here], [ ] & are not [going to] make the best of every thing. One of the boys out of the [P ] Co, Died yesterday.   Crowl, [Miss] Beldens Beaux arrived here safe yesterday.  There are over 70 Boys out of this Regt in the Hospital.  Almost all have had the Diareeah,  I have been quite well,  No one out of our Mess have been sick, except T Hooker1.  he is well now.  All the Boys are well

Love to all

1 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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