Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

September 16, 1862 – Elmira

Barracks No 3
Elmira Sep 16th
10 AM

Dear Father

I arrived at Camp all night yesterday, at 11,30 AM, & had no trouble at all about being over time. things are moving along the same as usual here. We have now got about 200 men here & many more are coming in. Yesterday the Dft’d men of Elmira were examined so we soon shall have some of them,

Things look but little like leaving here now Genl [Quinby], told one of the Officers that we should stay here most of the Winter. This I can’t see. I heard some of the Officers talking yesterday, about Recruiting, they said if we dont recruit to fill up, That these men would be sent to the Towns where their Co’s were raised & open Recruiting Offices, This would suit me, tip top. I do not think men would be sent from the Army, to recruit, while we were here. Our Doing it would save a great deal expense.

I do not know when I shall go to the City, probably tomorrow. We are having easier times now, not near as much Duty, If you should come to Watkins to Preach, I can get a 2 Day Pass & come down, The Boys are getting them often now.

I think we shall get our Pay, tomorrow on Saturday, things look like it now Mr Hollitt did not come up on the Train yesterday, Today I am resting out as I have got pretty tired in my last weeks running around. I shall expect to hear from [you?] soon. I will write to [Clifton] after Tuesday

Hoping you are all well, with love to all


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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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