Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

January 1, 1863

Camp Pomeroy
Jan 1st 1863

Dear Father

Yesterday we had a considerable excitement on Picket, about 2 PM, the word was passed along the Lines, that the Pickets on our left were driven in. We then had orders to draw our loads, & get every thing ready to rally, at a moments notice. This story soon proved untrue.

Some of the 17th Penn Cavalry, saw some of our Cavalry coming across the River & they broke & ran. So there was no danger.

About 6 PM, a Porker crossed my Beat, & as we had no orders to let a man pass, Billy Waters Shot him, he was a splendid pig and weighed about 150 pounds. We cut him up & cleaned him, & then Skinned him.

About 3 AM this morning, the 27th Maine, relieved us so we marched back to Camp, with our pork, arriving at 4 AM. then we had 2 hours to sleep.

At 8 AM, we was ordered to be ready in a half hour, for Inspection & Muster. After a great deal of Swearing the boys, prepared. We had Just 1/2 an hour to Scour our Guns, black our Boots & pack Knapsacks, we made things fly for a short time. At 9 AM, we fell out, & was soon Mustered & Inspected.

About 11 AM, the Report came around the Camp, that we had Marching Orders, for Union Mills, tomorrow morning at 5 AM. You can Imagine how Mad we were. We had just got the Trunk, brought by Budlong, & had not got all the things out yet. And to make the Matter worse, the Col has forbid the boys to carry anything except in their Knapsacks & Haversacks. Now what in the world shall we do, we can not carry the Trunk’s & can not sell them. Granger says he will do all he can, to get it carried for us.

what a dinner we had to day, I would have given $5,00 if you could have seen us, what a Happy set.

I do not know how in the world we shall carry the things. And then to make the Matter worse, Catlin is promoted to Sergt. I am sick & disgusted, with the whole performance, What encouragement is there for a man to try to do anything, if he is to be trampled on, & run over by every Slink. What in the world is the matter with the Capt, we soon shall have a Lodus Administration here, The moment Green is Capt I will Desert, I never will stay in the Company. I shall not try to do any thing more in the Co. I have done more duty, than any other Corporal & this is the pay for it. I am sick & discouraged who can help it. I dont care what I do now.

All my things came right except the Oysters, they were spoiled. Budlong sent the Trunk to Alexandria, by Express, & we sent for it. He has not done just right about this.

I can not write a letter today, Now there is one thing the 24th Maine, is to be kept near W, while we are sent off. They are 9 months men, they are to be kept back, while we three Years men must be pushed forward. I am going right into the Rebel Lines & be taken Prisoner. Barney, Al, Aleck & myself have agreed on it. This kind of thing is played out.

Lt Crowl is going to get his discharge & will come home. My pants fit tip top, & I like then very well. I like the Diary, first rate, it is Just what I wanted. I have got several things, I would like to send home, if I could get a chance, but I am afraid I shall not.

We still have a great time here to night, [but] little sleep for us. where in the world we shall turn up next nobody knows. I never want any thing more sent from home. It does not pay. I will write as soon as I get settled. All Letters directed to Washington, will reach me

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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