Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

February 24, 1863

(note in the margin at top)
Do you have to pay postage on Letters that I send without Stamps

Camp Hayes
Feb 24th 1863
6,30 PM

Dear Father

I received a letter from you, this AM on my return from Picket, also one from Mother & you tonight. You need not be alarmed about our going to Beaufort SC, that is played out, we hear nothing more about it, so think it is played out. I am glad to hear you are better, was afraid you was going to be sick.  I think you used Mrs McCumber just about right, for if her son is like the rest, they are a miserable Set.

I have got about a Bunch of envelopes, & about 20 Sheets of Paper. But if you get a good chance, you can send me some. You ask me the Price of Paper, it is, 6 Sheets for 7 cts, 4 Envelopes for 5 cts, or 25 cts a Bunch. Emery Paper is 5 cts a Sheet, & everything in the same proportion.

I shall most certainly go on the NYC RR. I think I shall go to Pittsburg Pa. Things look now like our staying here, & doing this miserable Picket Duty. I am quite well now, & feeling all right again. I was afraid I was going to have the Fever & Ague.

I need the Specimen of Emery Cloth, it is too coarse, it scratches up the Guns. If you can get some finer I would like it. I shall be glad to get the Havelock, as they are a nice thing in a storm.

Well we are having great times here now. To night we all have orders to have 40 Rounds of Cartirdges, & be all ready, for a Fight. It dont take much to set our Officers up. They are expecting Stuarts Cavalry. The report has just come, that Jackson is this side of the Rhapanock (Rappahannock?), & is coming this way. Well we have been Fooled too much, to be frightened at this report. It is reported that Green is Capt, & that Capt Holmes, is Major. We do not know whether it is true or not. We hope not, for God’s Sake.

On Saturday next we are to be mustered & Inspected. Our Capt on Picket told us we were going to be paid off, next week. I sincerely hope it will be so. Then if they pay us the 4 months wages, I can send home $40,00. We will have 4 months pay coming, the 6th of next month. The Officers are Scared to death, say they saw Signals last night. All nonsense.

Feb 25 6,30 AM. Well here it is morning again, & no Cavalry have visited us. Everything is great this morning. As good luck would have it, I have got to go on Camp Guard this morning. I have never been so tired in a long time as I was last night.

If you ever send a Trunk full of things, pack it yourself & let no one know it. that seems to be the Style in Lyons.

If Green is Capt, I shall try my best to get out of the Company. My taking Dryers place would then be played out. I shall most certainly go in the Color Guard. If Green is Capt, then we will need another 2nd Lieut & That will give Sodus another chance. you can not imagine what a Injustice there is against everything from Sodus.

I will tell you how thoughtful McDougal is. The morning we went on Picket, he rode in front of the Pickets, all along, with a pr (pair) of Mittins in his hand, to see if any one, was with out. He found a man & gave them to him.

I hope mother will not send a Trunk, if you send anything send a small box, & let no one know it. They all are willing to send with you, but want no one to send with them

With love to all
I remain
Manley T Stacey



I shall be very glad to get a knife from you as you say I have none. You can tell Mother that I do not smoke, that is played out with me. I gave that up at the Ferry & seldom smoke, unless it is a good Cigar. You can send me a Cigar if you choose. Well Charlie we are having rough times here now, come off Picket, one noon & go on Guard the next morning. It is rather rough. The Officers were all scared to Death last night, saw Signal Lights. I wish the Rebs would carry off about half of our 6 Officers. Well I have no more time to write.


Miss Rosa

I was glad to receive so good long a Letter from you & will now try & answer it. I am very sorry to hear you are sick, hope you will soon recover. Not come across your Venus yet, hope to before long. Rosa I suppose you will learn to [ ] & knit your Brother a pair of Stockings. If you will I will pay you for them. the Stockings we get of the Gov are so poor they only last once wearing.

I should like to be home & Doctor you up. Give my love to Maggie, tell her Manley thinks of her every day & wants to [hug] her, very much. Tell her to be a good girl, that I shall be home to see her some of these days.


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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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