Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

January 30, 1863

Camp Jim Walker
Jan 30th /63

Dear Father

I little expected a note from you, last night, but recd none.

We had a big time in our Camp last night. Brig Genl Hays, rode all through our Camp, in the middle of the night with out being halted. Now when the Guard has strict Orders to Halt every man, & make him give the Countersign, this is a Serious Offence. the Col, went around the Camp & took every other mans, Gun away from him, so the guard House is full of Delegates this AM. Now a man that is on Guard, should not let any man take his Gun, not even a Brig Genl. the Col asked them for their Guns, & they gave them up. the Col, is going to reduce one of our Corporals Luther Rogers. Lieut Grangers Sword is taken away from him, & the talk is that he is going to be Cashiered. dont we hope it is so. In short we had a regular Row.

Night before last we had a False Alarm. About 11, 15 PM we was awakened from a Sound sleep, by the long Roll. Then there was Confusion, no mistake. You can imagine 5 of us in a Tent 8 feet square, all looking for their Boots, Caps, Over Coats, Equipments & every two minutes have an Officer, come to the Tent, Fall out Boys. Co D fall in. We fell out then formed in Line, then Double Quicked it to the Rear of the Camp, formed a Line of Battle, then Marched back in Front of Quarters & Broke Ranks. It took the Regt a good while to get out as no one was prepared for it. the Left Wing was greatly behind. After this we shall be prepared for such things.

Yesterday our Co, went out on Picket, it was Snowing very hard & was very cold. for a wonder I was excused. The snow here is about 4 inches deep. We had Batallion Drill yesterday PM, Through the Snow Banks, Mud & Slush, it was lovely, especially at the Drill Charge Bayonets, when the Front Rank had to kneel down. We have got so that we can make a Good Change Bayonets, the Boys are good on the Yell.

I think we shall get paid off, to day or tomorrow, that is the talk now. To day, I think we shall have the Review by Genl Hayes. It is a beautiful day, though Cold.

I have got but little time to write, as I got my Gun very rusty the other night in the Storm, & I must clean it this AM. If we get paid off, there will be a great deal better feeling among the Boys.

I now send you the last Stamped Envelope, I have got. When I get my pay, I shall send for a $1,00 worth of Stamps, & put them on envelopes. enclosed I send you a Letter I got from A Yager, in Chicago.

I got my commission, the other day, it is on Sheep Skin, & is a nice thing. If I can I will send it home. Dreyer talks of coming home, if he does, I shall send the Trunk by him, My watch suits me to a Dot, runs tip top. If Dreyer gets his Discharge, I shall get Sergt sergt certainly. Col says Granger will be on his way home, Day after tomorrow, Glory, Glory.

Love to all


Will write tomorrow
Kiss Maggie for me

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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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