Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

March 29, 1863

Camp Hayes
March 29th
7 PM

Dear Father

I was a little disappointed today in not receiving a letter from you. We have had no mail since Friday, & then a very small one. Today we had Co Inspection, but we had 200 men Detailed, from the Regt, for Picket.

It is reported here now that we are to move to Warrenton, the Whole of Casey Division, it is said we are to move within 18 Days. It is reported also that we are to be Paid off also this week. it seems to be the General opinion, among the whole Brigade, that our days are numbered in Centerville. Well if we are to move to Warrenton, it will be Good Bye Furlough, & Good Bye Washington. Tonight we are Ordered by Genl Hayes, to have Canteens filled, & 24 hours Cooked Rations in our Havesacks. I think the old General is afraid of a Fight.

Mar 30th 6,15AM. We had an alarm last night about 11,30 PM. there was a man on Guard in each of the Co’s Streets, to wake then men up, instead of Beating the Long Roll. The Regt turned out well & was soon in Line. The Alarm, proved to be this. a man was Patroling [sic], between two Posts, on the Picket Line, (which is always done in the night). when they Halted him once, then two of the Guards fired on him. One Shot took effect, pasing through his Arm. Our Boys, mean something when they say Halt now. The mans, name was George [Geotzman] Co E, from Newark.

I am always sorry to have, monday morning come here, for then we have to go to work again. I am in hopes, we shall be paid off this week, we would not Complain. Our Picket Line is now 6 miles long. formerly it was 4. I expect we shall go on Picket again tomorrow, if we do not move before. I suppose Capt will return, to the Regt, this week, then things will move differently, in the Co.

As soon as I hear anything Positive, in regard to our moving I will imediately [sic] I will write

Love to all

Manley

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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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