Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 26, 1862 – On the road

On the Road between Chicago & Adrian Mich

Dear Father

I wrote you a letter last night, but did not send it. I will send it with this.

This morning I was busy, from the Time, we had breakfast, till we left. I went to the Marine Hospital & to the General Hospital, Getting together Bill Prices things & Doing Errands for the Cap.

We were ordered into line at 1,30 PM, & marched about 3/4 of a mile to the Mich Southern, there we laid until 6 PM, almost Froze to Death. About 6 M, we left Chicago in tip top Passenger Cars. This is something like traveling. I shall try & Post this at Cleveland. We have four Days Rations of Beef & Soft Bread.

6 AM. This is better than I expected. We have had a pretty good time on the Road, though but little chance to sleep. We arrived in Toledo at 7,30 AM. there we had some Good Coffee. We left Toledo, for Cleveland, after changing Cars. We left Toledo about 12.

I shall send this letter by Lieut Moor, he says, he will do any thing he can for me. I very much doubt whether we are Exchanged or not. I will write you again as soon as we get to Washington

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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