Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 30, 1862

On Picket about 2 miles west of Camp Dec 30th

12 PM

Dear Father

All quiet on Picket so far. Last night everything went off smoothly, no alarm of any kind. We have got a very nice post, & Barney, Aleck, Billy Waters & myself are together. Last night our Pickets were Attacked about 4 miles north of us, towards the Patomac. They were attacked by Cavalry but repulsed them. Reinforcments, were ordered up from Alexandria, of Cavalry & Infantry.

Today, we can hear very plainly, heavy Canonading to the south west of us. I think there is a large Force of Cavalry & Artillery Lurking around here, whether they will attempt to enter Washington or not we can not tell. probably not. It would be difficult to get to Washington from this Side of the River anyways. This is the time for the Rebels, to make

(editors note:  the middle part of this letter is missing.)

He had no right to put me on guard You had ought to have seen him cool down. If he does anything about it I will have him court Marshialed, for giving the Countersigne, so that it could be heard 2 rods off. I have him there.

I am afraid that last letter in the Republican will get me Court Martialed. The QM, is trying to find out who wrote it & says he will put him through If he finds who wrote it, there will be trouble for me. All in our Co, know who wrote it, & I am afraid some of them will let it out.

We are going in tomorrow, & are to be mustered again. Capt sent yesterday to [ ] for the Trunk, so I think it will be at Camp when we return. How many times last night I wished my self home It was a nasty disagreeable night, Fogy [sic] & misty, I hope it was not so with you. Lovely old night for Picket.

I will write again soon


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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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