Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 19, 1863

Camp Hayes
March 19th
8,30 AM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 13th day before yesterday, while on Guard & should have answered it when I came off Guard but I felt too miserable, to do anything. I had Chills & Fever all day yesterday, & laid in my Tent. This morning I got some Medicine from the Doctor, but I hardly like the idea of Taking Quinine, every 2 hours.

Today the Right Wing goes on Picket, but as good luck would have it, I do not have to go today. You must loose [sic] a great many of my Letters, as I write at least 3 a week. I received 50 cts in Postage Currency, in the last letter. We hear nothing more about being paid off. Though the Officers think we soon shall be. There is nothing going on in Camp, have not Drilled for the past few days, as it has rained, or been too muddy.

Well I must close

Will write tomorrow




I was glad to hear from you again, after so long a time. In regards to your Enlisting as a Drummer, I think you are better off where you are. Take my Advice & stay at home. In the first place, you never would live through the Service. A greater portion of those who Die, are under 20 years, they are the first to Drop off.  If you were 20 years old, I should say come on, but as it is, I never can. Take the Advice of a man that has seen over 7 months Service, & stay where you can live. Next Summer, if we are near Washington, I want you to come down & see us then you can judge for your self, I think you would like a Trip down to Washington.

enclosed I send in this Letter, a Letter D, to Maggie, & a crop to Rosa, they are made from the Bones of a man in the Georgia Regt, Rebel, as we found out by the Head Board. I will send you some thing before long, I am waiting to get out on the Battle Field. You say if you want to see me  alive again write for Fathers consent, rather than see you in the 111th, I would see you dead, for I know you never could stand it. Now just give up all idea of coming down here.

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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