Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

January 18, 1863

Camp near Centerville
Jan 18th /63

I have just got you letters from home one with Emery Paper, in & one with a sheet full of news. Everything is quiet here, everything [moving] off all right.

we have now got a new Brig Genl AB Hayes. His going to be very strict with us as we can tell by his orders. This PM we had Dress Parade, & a very long list of Orders & a Chaplain of the Bible & a Prayer, from the Chap. I would like to know what in the world, Chap has been doing, mighty likely he has services, & I know nothing of it.

I do not hear anything about the Color Sergt the Col, will make the Appointment in a few days, then I shall know. I write a letter to you about every other day, I think some of the Letters must be lost. Though they are Directed [plain]. I am afraid it is played out, our going to W, things look now like our staying here now.

I do not think you need worry about me, so much, I am getting along first rate, never so healthy in my life, & in no Danger, but from an attack [from] 6000 cavalry, that’s all. no danger of an attack from Infantry here. All we are afraid of is cavalry. the rebs, are Picking off the Cavalry, & do not bother the Infantry Pickets. We have got a splendid Position here, on a hill, our Artillery has mounted their Guns, in two or three forts here. We are now on the Defensive not the Offensive. That makes a difference. I should not, be surprised if we had some Fighting here, we are ready every night, night is the time to look for trouble here, not days. we are ordered to have our Canteens filled with Water every night, so to be ready, for anything. there was a rumor in Camp this PM, that we were ordered near Fredericksburg & were to leave tomorrow. I think there is no truth in it, as we are held for the Defence of W.

I was glad to get that emery Paper though I should prefer emery Cloth, to paper. We hear nothing about Pay, I do not think the Officers have been paid off, & not us. I am afraid we shall not yet get our Pay in two months more. Should not be at all surprised. I am afraid the Capt, will not let me have the Color sergt place Just like him, if he does not, I will go to the Colonel.

I cant write a letter to night so much confusion in the Tent, this is nothing like Sudays at home. I am sick of Sundays in the Army. we can not tell the Difference here. I would give a good deal, to be home to night. It is now just 7,15. you are just going to Church, I think I should be willing to sit with Mother to night. I long to go to Church to night. I think there will be no chance to get a furlough, to come home, no one gets a Furlough, except he is sick, & I cant be that.

I wish we would do something, either Fight or settle this some way, I am sick of this way of doing business. this looks no more like being settled than it did a year ago. By order of our new Brig Genl, Saturdays is set apart for Washing day, no Duty to be done on that day. This will be a little better for us. It is very cold weather with us now, though no snow. I will be glad when winter is over, Soldiering is a great deal better in the Summer.

Capt is thick with the Col, from Present.  I think he will be the next Major, if so then Sodus will reign supreme. Of all things I dread that the most.

there has been a great change in Billy waters, he has since we left Chicago, stolen over $40 of our QM. I do not know whether this is right or not, taking back some that he has robed [sic] us of.

I wish we would go to Washington, so that you could come there.  You could see a great deal there, You then could see something how this war is carried on. In my next letter, I will send a Small Cross, made from a Man’s shin Bone, found in bull Run creek. There is lots of things I would like to send home, but I never can carry them from here.

There is no News to write, now so I can write nothing. Tell Mother not to worry about me, I am trying to do about right. Kiss Maggie for me & tell her I will send her something in my next. Tell her I never forget her & would like to see her very much. She must be a good girl, & I shall be home to see her before long. I will write to Rosa in a Day or two.

So much much love as this Letter will carry, to Mother & all

I remain
Your Son


Write as often as possible & I will do the Same

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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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