Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 12, 1863

Camp Hayes
March 12th
6,15 PM

Dear Father

I should have written you this morning, but expected to get the Barrel to day, & would wait till then. Yesterday they told us that the Teams had gone, for the Express Boxes, & that they would be here tonight but as yet, they have not arrived, though they may come tonight.

Yesterday [Hunt] & I got a pass for the Rebel Barracks to get some Lumber, to Stockade our Tents. We got a nice lot of Boards & got a 125th Regt, Teamster to bring them in for us. to day Barney, Al, Aleck & I have been at work all day, Stockading the Tent. By Stockading we mean building a Foundation, about 2 feet high, & setting the Tent on top of it. Tonight, we are taken a little more comfort. We have now got good accomodations, & have got plenty of room for the Boxes & barrels.

Last night at 11,10 the long Roll Beat again. A man on Picket, fell down & his Piece went off. the Camp Guards, immediately, fired the Alarm, so we were called out, & loaded our Guns. the Boys are more careful, since that Raid the other night. I telegraphed to you from Cleveland, did not you get the dispatch. I would not say anything about the Candles, to Capt, what do I care if he Blames me Stealing the Candles, if I am innocent. The boys all know in the Co, who took them, that is enough. I will step in & take the [Preaching] on Sunday noon, after I have been to meeting.

Aleck takes the Republican so when you do not send it, I see it. There has been a great many rumors lately. about our going to Chicago, to guard Rebel Prisoners. Adjutant Knapp, when he was here told the Officers, that the Citizens of Chicago, had Petitioned for us to do the guard Duty there.

March 13, 6,30 AM. We have very cold nights here now, last night we took a little more comfort. The Boxes are to be here tonight. the QM, had a Telegraph dispatched yesterday saying they would be here to night. Today as good Luck would have it, I have got to go on Picket. there is but little news in Camp now, everything going off, same as usual.

Rebel Refugees are going through here every day, they say, they can not live South, You can see them all hours of the Day, going through with their Household Goods. I shall be glad to get the $5,00, if we are not soon Paid off, for I need it. when is the Capt coming back, he has stayed over his time. well I must close this, have to to get ready for Picket, & clean my Gun

Love to Maggie & all




I am very sorry to hear you have been so Sick, you must not study so hard. I want you to keep well until I come home, for I shall want to see you. I wish you many happy returns of the day, Little Miss, & hope [when] you have another, that I shall be with you. I want you to take care of yourself. Take good care of Maggie

Kiss Maggie for me & tell her Manley sends her his love

I will to you soon again

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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