Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 23, 1863

Camp Hayes

March 23d

8,15 AM

Dear Father

I have just come off from Reserve, last night, on the fairfax road, where the Rebs, entered a week or two ago.  We did a little better, than was done them, by not leaving our Post, until after Daylight. 

I recieved a letter from you yesterday, with a 11cts Postage Currency in it, Enclosed I send the Envelope, let me know if you sealed it up like it is, before you sent it.  I little mistrust it was opened right here.  It was sent the 11th, & I did not get it until the 22d, which I think is almost too long a time for a letter to come from Lyons.  Tell Mother that she can say what she likes, no one has forbidden her writing what she likes.  I do not know why you do not get  more letters from me, I write at least 4 a week.  I intend writing every other day, but sometimes, I can not write as often as that.

News is rather Stale, at present in our Camp, nothing going on.  I am in hopes that we shall get a little rest, from this Severe Duty, we are doing here now.  The 26th Michigan, that was here, before us, & that we relieved, are now in W doing Provost Duty, I should like it, if they would give us a little Rest too.  Wednesday is Picket again, it comes rather often, what with Camp Guard, Picket, & Reserve, it keeps us rather busy.

Williams has been in the Guard House, two Sundays running now, for Dirty Gun, he is getting very Shiftless.  He has acted since his return from Home, as if he would do, just as he pleased, I think he will be brought to [time].  Warren is under Arrest for telling the Orderly this morning that he would do just as he pleased.  I do not intend to get in any Scrape if I can help it.

I always take the Papers you send to Chap Brown, he is very glad to get them.  I like the Rochester Democrats, better than any other Paper, you send, there is more news in them.  New York Daily Papers are 10cts a piece here, so of course we can not afford that.  Baltimore Papers are 5 cts a piece, but they are worth nothing.

I think I get more Mail than any other man in the Regt, I know I do than any one in the Co.  Let me know about the Envelope

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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