Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

February 11, 1863

Camp Hayes
Feb 11th /63

Dear Mother

At last the Pay Master has visited us. We got pay yesterday up to the 1st of Nov. My Pay was $23,83. I shall send home $15,00. I had several small Debts to pay, so I can not send any more. the boys felt good to get even this.

There must be some mistake about the Allottment Roll, for I got all money, while some of the boys, got checks. One thing is certain I never should sign another, I recd the Letter, with the 50cts check in, You tell me to get a good meal, with it, that is impossible. You can not get such a thing in this place. I have tried all around the Country, & can not get such a thing. All they have to live on, is Hoe Cake & Bacon, not a Bit of Wheat Bread (Except what we draw from the Gov) since we left Chicago. It is a mystery to me how a great many of the Inhabitants live, they can raise [nothing].

You can not see a Fence anywhere through this Country, they are all torn down, & destroyed

I was very sorry to hear that Father was sick, hope it is nothing serious. Last night we had to come out in Dress Parade, with White Gloves, & pay Sutlers Prices, for them, 50cts. I saw & had a Talk yesterday with Mr and Mrs Brown, they were quite pleasant, & invited me to call on them.

I did not go on Guard yesterday, as I expected too, but have got to go on Picket at 9 AM.

If Charlie does not use the Revolver, you may, send it to me, if you send any things, also some Cartridges, to fit it. Also some Emery Paper, to clean Gun.

Enclosed I send Mrs Millards Card, if Father comes to Washington, he must call there. Mr Millard is getting $600 a year, as Messenger, & is doing very well. I do not see why you do not hear oftener from me, I write almost every other day, some must get lost. Capt Holmes & Dryer is going to Washington to day, & I think most likely he will come home. I shall send my Money by him to W, & if he comes he will bring it, & if not he will send it from there. we have had some miserable weather here for the past few days, but not near as bad, as you think. Remember, we are in the South.

We have had some Cold weather, but not near as Cold, as you have. We have not suffered here, but have managed to keep along. I have had but little time to write for the past few days, had everything to do & all in Confusion. I think we shall remain where we are for a spell, no more talk, about moving, from here. I should have liked to send home more money, but have got but a little over $1,00 left when I pay my Debts. the PM says, we will get the rest of our Pay, in March we hope too, you may be sure.

We have got a new Ajutant, he is a Regular Irish man. I will write to Rosa & Charlie next time. Is is now 7,30 AM, I have got to get my Breakfast, roll up my Blanket, clean my gun, & get my Rations, by 9 AM. Now you see I must close. enclosed I send a Three cent Piece to Maggie, a Pocket book, to Charlie, the 23cts, for him & the 5 for Rosa

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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