Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 15, 1863

Camp Hayes
March 15th
6,30 AM

Dear Father

When I returned yesterday, I was Delighted to find that my Barrel had arrived, & that I had a letter from home. Of course the first thing was to open it. To my Sorrow I found that the Ham had spoiled, the Fried Cakes Mowldy, the Bread Mowldy, about half of the Apples rotten, the Pris spoiled. It was to [sic] bad, so much had to be thrown away. I was very glad to find the Tea pot, & Tea, it will be quite a change, from Coffee. the Paper & Envelopes, are all right glad to get them. So are the Paper Collars, the Gloves, Emery Cloth. the Havelock is tip top, much obliged to Mother. The Dried Fruit will come good.

You had ought to have been in our House (we do not call it a Tent now) last night, & have seen us at Supper, We had Tea, Bread & Butter, Dried Beef, Pickles, Preserves, Doughnuts & Cheese. Al, Barney & Aleck got a Box, yesterday, charges $3,75, so you see we have everything in the eating line.

The reports last night, was by the Officers of the Day, that the Rebs, have thrown out their Pickets, to the Battle field, if so they will be near ours. Of course this cut us a little talk, among us, we had just finished our house, got out Things, & now could take some comfort.

There is a Rumor in Camp, that Mack has his choice, of one of three things, take us to Washington & do Provost Duty, take us to Chicago & do Guard Duty, or tonight in Front, it is said that he has 9 days to make up his Mind. If this is so, we are Elected for the Front, because McDougal, will not take us to the Rear. He wishes to get some Honor, & wants to try us in battle. well we have nothing to say about it either way. Still another Report, that 5000 Rebs, have again crossed the Rhappahanock & that we were to be Reinforced.

I would say nothing more about Color guard to the Capt. I would ask no favor of him I am sure I would not.

Things are moving along about the same as usual, a little excitement about the Rebs being so near.

I reveived the Postage Stamps & currency you sent, & shall be glad to get the $5,00, My Boot Taps are all worn out, & I must get them Tapped. I got the Tin Spoon you sent in a Paper, but some one was kind enough to open the Paper, & so it got [J....ned] up.

Tell Charlie, that I will pay the charges on the Revolver, if he sends it. and another thing, I order him to send it, nor will he mind. I feel about half sick this morning, a cold & bad headache, but must get ready for Inspection as usual. I would give a Farm to be at Home today.

Love to all

Manley

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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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