Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

February 8, 1863

Camp Hayes
Feb 8th 1863

Dear Father

I recieved your note of the 2nd last night, & will try & answer it now.

As usual we are to have Inspection, this AM. Yesterday we came off, Picket, from Post No 15th. There was two men living there, that looked very suspicious to me, so & determined to keep a close watch of them. Our Post, was in a log [Shantie].  overhead, we found, Government, Property of all kinds, Tents, Clothing, & Guns. As a man is no right with this Propery, we determined to report it. If they had made any distribution I should have reported it to D Utassi, as they did not, I let it pass. They were genuine Secesh, no mistake, one of them left home about 3 PM, & was gone till nearly Day Light the next morning. I have no Doubt that he is a Spy. He knew the No of every Picket Post, just how many there were & where they were.

It is reported here for a Settled thing that we are to be paid off, on Tuesday, next, but for only 2 months. There is strong talk, of our Extending our Picket Lines, farther out, & of our being sent to Washington, if so we shall have some Fighting to do. there is Rebels in abundance near there. I think there is a move ahead. we can tell more what we shall have to do, when our Col comes back, or when we find out, whether he will be Col, or not. It will make some difference to him, whether he can be Col, or not.

Granger’s Sword was taken away from him, because he was on Provost Guard, & did not nave the countersign, when it was his place to have it, & another thing he had his Side Arms off, which is against orders. He has got his Sword again & I guess he will get along now with out any thing being done. Do you think, I do not know my Duty that I should have been in that Scrape, if I had been on guard that night?

I must have lost some of the Letters, you sent, as I have recd, Stamped Envelopes, but once that was when the Trunk came. These las[t] I recd all right.

We have had awful weather for the past week, it has rained most of the time. it is our Good Luck, to have to go on Picket when even it storms. we have to go a half miles out of our way, & go through Just such a [Formula] every time, no matter how much it storms. we have had some Bitter cold weather this last week, as cold as we have in NY.

Dan Hutchings is just where he started 1st Corp he never will be promoted. No one likes him in the Co, he is always complaining. all non commissioned Officers, get a Commission, to show their Authority, for what they do, I shall try & send it home. I get more Mail, than any one else in the Co,

We have got two or three cases of Small Pox in the Regt now.

Cant write any more
No time
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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