Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

February 5 & 6, 1863

Camp Hayes
Centerville Va
Feb 5th 1863

Dear Mother

I received your letter of Saturday yesterday & will reply immediately.

yesterday I was on Provost Guard, & was acting as Col D Utassi’s Orderly. My Business was to take Orders, to & from the Different Regts, around here. The Advantage was, I got Excused at 8 PM, & went to my Tent & staid all night. I am afraid that was not good, as it was a very Cold night.

It was rumored here yesterday, that we had Marching Orders for Washington. This is a great deal farther in Front, than we are now, & is about 20 miles from here. This is right in the Rebel Country. I hope this is not so, though I shall not be surprised if we have to move from here, very soon. Every one seems to think we shall move. the 126th Regt, arrived here day before yesterday they are to assist us in Picket Duty here. Today I have heard that the 126th, 151st PA, & the 125th NY, are to Relieve us while we go Farther on. there is now at this Post the 39th NY, 111th, & the 125th, We have now got to go, a Regt at a time, once in three days, on Picket Duty. This will come rather rough, on us.

It is snowing again to day, so we have no Drilling. you may be sure, we do not object to a Holiday.

It is now Thursday again, how swift the weeks pass away. Mark Thornton, of Lyons is Just appointed Ambulance Driver.  it is a pretty good Position, for him. Lieut [Lasse], of Co B, was Officer of Provost Guard, he has been promoted from Sergt. he is well acquainted with Father, & asked about him. He is a pretty Good Fellow, though not much of an Officer. If Dreyer, leaves the Co, I shall get sergt.

I recieved your letter with the 5cts in, & am very much obliged to you for it. They say now here, that we are to be paid off, the 10th, us next Tuesday. I do not know how True it is.

You ask me if I do not want you to Die before You are, 100 years old. That is a pretty Question to ask, now here is one just like it. Dont you wish I might get Shot, some night on Picket, to have a Rebel Shot pick me off. Now I want no more of such questions to answer.

I want to know whether [Pas] has got to Preach, all the Funeral in Lyons. I shall not Bunk with, Williams, Francisco no[r] Hunt, as soon as we move again. I do not care about having all I say & more too, reported. I do not know how in the World we can get the Trunk, to Washington. The RR, from Union Mills to Alexandria is, used for nothing but the Government, so we can not send it this way. If we can not send it by some one going to W, we can not send it.

Feb 6th 8 PM. It is raining hard here to day, & we have got to go on Picket. This is our Benefit. Last night we expected an attack. The report came here yesterday PM, that our Pickets were driven in & that the 126th was Drawn up in Line of Battle at Union Mills. This I do not think is so, I think a great many Expected an attack. It was a miserable night, raining hard.

Barney got a Box from home last night. I forgot to have a Havelock made, I should like one. If you & Warrens folks, choose you can send us a Box, just for the two. You can see them if you could get a chance to send it to W, it could be sent by Express from there, with out costing much. Have you ever tried Hardens Express, soldiers Boxes half Price. Harve[y] Warren & I Bunk together, & we would have no trouble.

I was talking the other day with a Lieut, he says, that lieut Col McDougal has been offered, the Lieut Coloncy, in the 9th Artillery, if he will have us transfered.  He will not do it, if he can get to be Col, of this Regt. We shall know in a few days.

I must close, time to go on Picket

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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