Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

February 13, 1863

Camp Hayes
Feb 13th 1863

Dear Father

I had hoped to have heard last night, that you were better, but got no mail. I have sent you $15,00 by Capt Holmes, which he is to forward by mail from Washington if he goes no Farther. I think he will come home, a good many of the Boys, think he will Resign, & not stay with the Company, any more. That is [common] talk in the Co. Dreyer has gone with him, to hunt up Deserters, they say, though I hope they will not find any of them.

I sent by Dreyer My Commission, also a Ball from the Battle Ground. We were all in such a hurry, getting ready for Picket, or I should have sent more things. I received quite a Compliment, the other day on Picket, though it was not intended for my Ear’s. 1st sergt of Co [C], told Sergt Warren, that he was not afraid but what I would do my Duty, & that I was in his Co, he would Promote me to Sergt, immediately. Our Col, was Officer of the Out Posts, that day, & he did not find me, as he did some of the Corps, on other Posts, asleep. I knew my duty. I always make it a Point, to do my Duty, everywhere. And when I am on guard to have the Best instructed Relief.

There is no news in Camp.  Our Ajutant is as green as grass, I could do better myself, he is an Irishman, & has the Brogue to a Dot. there is one thing that goes hard with us, Come off, Picket at 11 AM, no sleep the night before, & Drill two hours the same afternoon. I do not believe this is according to Regulations.

We have been so busy for the past few days, that we have been all in Confusion. We are always glad to have Saturdays come, then we have a Holiday. Sunday we have Regimental inspection, this we dread as the Col, is very strict, there is generally a great many Candidates for the Guard House.

My last Picket post was on the Braddock Road. I would rather be on Picket than in Camp, any time, unless it is very [stormy]. If you send me anything, send it with Warrens Folks, dont send it with Francisco’s, or Hunt, or Williams. Never send again with them again.

I have just heard some news. Lieut Green says we have Marching Orders for Beaufort SC. There to do Provost duty. Well we shall be glad tomorrow again , anything for a change.

I have been expecting to move for two weeks past. Mr Warren talks of coming, if he does you can send some things by him, as Harvey bunks with me. Now for another move, I will write to Charlie tomorrow.

love to all


Got the [Pencil] all right

Glad to get it

It is reported that we are to get our Pay up to the 1st of June, very soon


Camp Hayes
Feb 13th 1863
6 PM

Dear Mother

I recieved a letter from home this PM, with a pair of White Gloves in it, they came in just the right time, as we have got orders to have two prs of Gloves.

It was reported here this AM, that Capt Holmes & about 20 others that left here with him are under arrest, it seems they did not have the right Papers. I can not tell, how true it is. I think if he ever gets home, we never shall see him again. It is comon [sic] talk among the Boys, they even ask & wonder who will be the next Lieut. It is reported here on Good Authority, Lieut Green that Col McDougal & Lieut Col, Smith, have resigned because they can not have the Major they want. Capt [Lusk] of E, Newark Co, is going to be major. It is reported that the Col, wanted Capt Holmes, & wanted the privelige, of Appointing the Major. This may be a story, but Lieut green says it is so, I hope it is not so.

We are ordered too [sic] night to sleep with our Boots & clothes on, all ready for the Rebels. It is reported that they are Fighting at Union Mills, & have sent for our Regt, which I do not know, we may be ordered over there. I hear nothing farther about our going to Beaufort. Am afraid it will not prove true, the only trouble about our going there, would be about the mail. The Gurillas are taking off, the Infantry Pickets now, night before last they took 4 & last night 7, right in the Same Division that I was on, the last time I was out. There is one good thing about it, they do not Fire on them, they take them by Surprise. So quietly do they do it, that they know nothing about it, on the next Post.

Some of these days your Son, perhaps, will get a Chance to see [L…] Prison in Richmond. I have got 8 or 10, envelopes, Directed & Stamped, they are just what I like, I got some Stamps the other a day, also 6 today. They can not be got here for Love or Money, the boys pay 5cts a piece for them.

I do not know what to make out about the Paper’s, I can not have got half of them, I think more or the Roch Dem, than any other, more even than the NY Tribune.

I am very glad to hear Father is Better, I was afraid he was going to be sick. I do not want any more Paper, for two months yet. The next you send, please send note Paper, it is so much, Easier to carry, & a great deal easier to write on.

The boys right opposite to us are Singing We are Going Home, to Die no More. Going Home is a favorite song here. I do not want you to worry about, or suffering with the Cold, to be sure we have some miserable Weather, but again we have some warm Spring Days. I do not notice the weather here half as much as I did at Home. I generally look on the Bright side of the Picture, & make the best of everything. You must want tell I help clean out the Rebels before, I can consent, to your Lecturing. One thing at a time. tomorrow is Holiday for us, we think a great deal of that.

14th 8 AM. Well mother, the night has passes away, & no fight. the 39th were ordered over too union Mills about 8 PM, & have not returned yet, how they succeeded we do not know yet & Some of the boys heard firing there all night. Of course the 39th will have all the Honor, even if there is nothing done. tomorrow I expect to go on Guard. I shall not if I can, as would rather go on Picket monday. Picket Duty here, is better than stayingin Camp.

Hope to hear that the money has arr, home safe. love to Maggie, & tell her Manley thinks of her often

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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