Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

February 28, 1863

Camp Hayes
Feb 28th 1863

Dear Father

I received a letter from you yesterday, & will try & write a Short not[e] this AM.

I am well & all right now, feeling all right now. We have had no Fighting yet, nor does it look any more like having one now, than it ever did before. Yesterday Green came through the Co, & told the Boys, that their Guns apart, to put them together as soon as possible, that our Col had gone out on a Scout, with the Cavalry & there was no telling, how soon we might be called on. This was just about as much sense as half the orders Green gives. Just because the Col, had gone with the Cavalry, why we must have a fight. night before last, our Scouts drove in Rebel Pickets were driven in, they were just outside of the Bull Run Creek.

We are to be inspected & mustered, at 2 1/2 PM by Col McDougal, not Brig Genl Hayes. I never told Capt Holmes, that I had not earned the Promotion, he must think I am a fool, I would like to know, what Corporal in Co D, has done [more] than I have. I told him I did not know but I had rather a little too Free, with the Boys, but the trouble was, I put too much confidence in the Boys, & some one reported what I said. I deny my being the cause, of the trouble between Lyons and Sodus. It commenced at Harpers ferry, before I even knew the Company. It is a Lie, if he says, Green & Granger had nothing to do, with Cathers Promotion. If any other Sergt, but Catlin had, came to the Tent, & taken off his Side Arms, he would have been Reduced. When you see Dreyer you will find out a little more how things are.

the QM, will bring up any Express Box, sent here, he Brought up 3 Wagon Loads of Boxes for the Regt, yesterday. There would be no trouble about that, nor about my receiving the Box.  I hope if you send one, you will let no one know it. It will come to Alexandria, & from there to Union Mills by RR. Tom Hooker is all right, & well. Chap Brown received that Paper from you, because he showed me the Letter.

I have just heard that the Rebels have their Pickets posted opposite our Pickets & talk to one another.

I must close this

Love to all

M T Stacey

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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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