Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 21, 1863

Camp Hayes
March 21st
8 AM

Dear Father

I received your letters of the 16th, yesterday & will answer this morning. Last night, the Report came to our Camp, that 250 Rebel Cavalry were inside our lines, & that we were to keep a good look out for them.

This morning I am feeling a great deal better, & shall soon be all right. I received 50 cts in Postage Currency. I forgot to send the Letter Ds & the Cross, so I will send them in this. I always lend Tom Hooker, my Papers, as fast as I can get them. That is a very interesting Copy of the Tribune you sent me, shall take care of it.

Tell Mother every thing she sent, was just the thing just what we wanted. the Boys say they will throw away their Knapsacks, before they will the Tea Pot.

I did not pay for the Dispatch sent from Cleveland. I tried to send a Dispatch from Alexandria, when we came through there, but found, that I would have to pay in Advance, if an answer was not wanted, & that it would cost $1,50 so of course could not send it.

I suppose when I return from this War, you will not be living in Lyons. I wish I knew, where you would go next.

We are having another Snow Storm this morning, it looks but very little like Spring here now, The People here say this has been the roughest Winter known in several years here. Well It can not last much longer.

If Charlie should Enlist as a Drummer, he could not Enlist in this Co, as our Old Drummer has returned to Duty, from Chicago. The Letter D which I send to Charlie is made from a Bone taken from the House where Gongressmen [sic] Ely, was confirmed, by the Rebs, after he was taken Prisoner. Tell him to have a Breast Pin made of it.

At last we are to have a Regimental Band, col Mac, gives $25 a month, himself. Wont that set us up. I would give 3 a month myself. Nothing would please the Boys better then to have a Band. when we get the Band & have a Review by Genl Casey next Summer, you must come down & Bring Charlie, I want him to make a trip down here. there is nothing more, of importance

Give my 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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