Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 31, 1862

Camp Douglass
3 PM Oct 31st

Dear Father

I have written once to day, home, but have just got another chance to send by Aleck Williams.

This morning we were mustered in, preparatory to being paid. I think we will be paid about Monday next but can not tell. Things do not look as favorable for our going home, now as they did. I am afraid I shall be disappointed. It would be a disappointment, truly. Some say we are to leave next monday, but can not tell. The truth is, they dare not tell us a day before hand. If they did the boys, would Burn & tear down all the buildings. I think if we do come home, it will be after we are paid off and not before.

This life is so uncertain. It is all nonsense. A B Williams going home, he is no more sick than I am, not a bit. One thing is certain, I shall not play up sick to get home. I do not think Chicago would hold me, if I got a Furlough.

To night I am going on Guard again so as to get rid of Guard Duty tomorrow, that is the way to do it. I will not send the Revolver, for if it is not fit for Charlie to carry, I will carry it.

there is but little news, in Camp now. I expect there will be some to night on Dress Parade. I have heard Rumors about Warrens being Reduced to a Corporal but do not know, whether it is so or not, I hope so

I can think of nothing else to write, Except to answer the Question about Robert Hoy1, he is quite well & is standing this life [very], I like him very well

Love to all


1Hoy, Robert W.–age,42 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Discharged for disability, 16 May 1863, at hospital, Philadelphia, PA.

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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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