Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

January 14, 1863

Camp near Centerville
Jan 14th /63

Dear Mother

I received your letter last night & will reply immediately.

I can see you do not wish me to belong to the Color Guard, I have not been Detailed yet, & think now I shall get something better. the Color Sergt, wants me to carry the State Colors, & he will soon get his discharge, I should be Ranking Sergt, & carry the emblem. There is but little news in Camp now, all seem to think we shall soon move somewhere, but we can not tell when.

Jan 15th 9 AM, I could find no news to write yesterday, so defered [sic] it till to day. I was on Guard yesterday & last night, & had ought to be asleep, but will write today. Our Co, was ordered out as Reserve Pickets last night, returned all right this AM.

I had another talk with the Color Sergt, yesterday, he said he was going to resign, & that he was going to Resign in my Favor, so if I can get Color Sergt I shall take it. Louis Dreyer 2d Sergt in our Co, is going to get his discharge, he says he would resign in my favor, if he possibly could, I think there will be another Promotion in the Co, before long, but I ask nothing of Capt H. I heard yesterday that they were going to commence paying off this Brigade to day, but I think they will not yet. there is nothing to write here today, No News.

7 PM. I will now answer your last letter, of the 12th. I have not made up my mind yet whether to join the Color Guard or not. Probably I shall. I thought I mentioned my receiving the Vest by Granger. It came all right.

I did not know that I had been haunting You, I thought I had been here all the Time.

I am not coming home till I get my discharge. Tom Hooker came up with us from Chicago, today he is looking very well. We are to go on Picket tomorrow, again. Of all the Cowards I have ever seen, Green, is the biggest one I have ever seen. Tonight he told us that we had better carry our knapsacks out on Picket, for if we were Taken Prisoners we would want them. Just as if we would carry them, if we were taken. He said there had been several alarms along the Lines to day & we might have trouble. God knows what he would do in Battle.

We have been cleaning up a Large piece of Ground, this PM, for Drill Ground. Now I think we will move, for Just as soon as we get fixed up we move. You have not told me about the Donation yet, have you forgotten it.

I must close this Letter, as it is near Taps, to have Lights Extinquished, & I must make my Bed.

Good Night
Love to All


Please send me a Fine Tooth Comb

I will write again soon

M T Stacey

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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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