Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 17, 1863

Camp Hayes
March 14th
6,30 AM

Dear Father

I little expected a letter from you last night but was disappointed. I am on Guard again this morning so it will be short.

I like my Havelocks better every time & look at it, it will be good both summer & winter. It is the best one, that has been sent from Lyons. I got the Pepper Box, that Rosa sent. I am much obliged to her for it. It is just what we needed. I am very glad you sent me the Tea & especially the Sugar. That has been one of our greatest Troubles, we draw such small Rations of Sugar. We are living high now, & are living a great deal more comfortable, since we fixed our House.

there is but little News in Camp, we have had another lively Storm. Night before last we had a very heavy Thunder Storm, while it was Hailing Hard. this makes the second we have had, this Winter.

Have I told you that we have Recitations twice a week in Tactics at the Liets Room. It is a Big thing Corporals, have got to learn how to form a Battallion. McDougal is very strict with his Non Commissioned Officers, he makes them Toe the mark.

I have been feeling very miserable for the past few days, I have had a bad Cold, & it settled in my Head. This morning I am feeling all right again. The other night, because it stormed, Green thought we would be attacked, so he ordered the men to sleep with Boots & Clothes on. No other Officer in the Regt did the same thing.

The Col has just had a Barn built on the Ground, that makes me think we shall not move very soon. I wish we would, I am sick & tired of this Place, nothing going on here but military & all you can hear is the Bugle Call for some Drill or other. I would like a change.

I believe 5 Pr cent of a Co, now are allowed a Furlough at a Time, if so then I may come home some day on one, Suppose you mention it to the Capt.

Well I must close this letter, with love to all

Kiss Maggie for me


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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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