Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 26, 1863

Camp Hayes
March 26th
8 PM

Dear Father

I received your letter of Friday, this morning on my return from Picket Post #6. Alas one from Mrs Stout. Enclosed I send the letters.

Everything went off all right, on Picket, nothing to disturb us. To night I feel very tired, returned from Picket, this morning at 10, & go on Battalion Drill at 1,45 PM. We now shall be pushed right ahead, as the Col, is no longer Comandant of the Post, Genl Hayes being here. we shall have one consolation, that is not having to go on Picket, as often, as we did. The Pickets will now be taken from the whole Regt, instead of the wings, as it was before.

Col Mac, is awful on the Drill, we are Drilled when no other Regts, turn out. It is reported to night that 2 Companies out of each of the Regts, here are going out to Warrenton, of this is so, then we stand a change to go, D & H, always go out to support a Battery. we have now got at this Post, 1st Pa Reserves Infantry, 39th, 111th, 125, Keystone Battery, 11th Mass Battery 1st Mich Cavalry. When Genl Casey gets his Division together, we shall have a great many Troops at this Poat. the 1st Pa reserves, is on of the oldest Regts in the field, some of the Co’s, have just 5 men left, some of the Co’s, are commandered by Orderly Sergts. You should see their Colors. I would like the Honor, of carrying back, a Flag, as full of holes, as theirs is.

They have these shelter Tents just large enough to lay down in, not to set up. there is a great deal of talk of our going on the Front, now Casey is coming here, well I do not care much, one thing is certain, we would have easier times in Front, not near the work. Our Picket Lines are to be thrown out, from this Post, this I am glad. we shall have to walk a little Farther, but the lines will extend through a Country that I have wanted to see.

the Days are getting a great deal longer here now, it is light at 5,30 now. I expect before long, that we shall have to Drill an hour before Breakfast. That I never liked. Sunday, I expect we shall have, Regt Inspection, of course. I would give much for a Rest now as I would have given last Winter.

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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