Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 1, 1862 – Washington DC

Washington DC
Dec 1st /62

Dear Father

I wrote a letter yesterday, but owing to the Confusion, could, not finish it, in time for the Mail.

We have not moved yet but expect too [sic], before long. The General opinion here is that we are not Exchanged but that we soon will be. Hardly any of our Officers, think we are. I shall go over to the 138th’s Camp in a few days. I saw Capt Charlie Wood, yesterday. The Regt is only two miles from where our Camp, is to be.

We had a lovely time in the Barracks last night, there was about a Regt & a half in one Room But then we are used to sleeping on a hard bed. Two of the 138th boys, came down to see us, last night, It raised a great deal of Excitement, among the boys, every one had some Friends in the Regt.

I said last night, that we were going to Arlington Tonight, this is a mistake, we are going to Camp Chase, near the long Bridge. Of course I can not describe it until I see it. It is rather doubtful about our getting Paid Off, for if we are not Exchanged, we will not until we are.

Right here at the Capitol, we get Meat, that Stinks so we can not possibly eat it, It is a great Shame. I think I will have my Tooth Brush & a Blacking Brush Sent as we are obliged to have our Boots Blacked when we Parade. I will also have a few Paper Collars, so if we are [Re..ed] here I can look well. I do not want to be burdened with a great deal.

We have got about 4 miles to March today, & then pitch our Tents, as we shall be pretty busy.

I think there must have been some Mistake, in regard to the measure of my Boots, Billy Waters, took [ ] it & I was very particular.

Talk about confusion, you should see, where I am writing from 10 to 12,00, in the Room. I hear but little War News now, though would like to know, how things are at Fredericksburg. I think, something will be done in the next two weeks.

Our Lieut Colonel said this AM, that we were not Exchanged yet but that we soon would be. As soon as I hear anything deffinite [sic] I will write

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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