Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 4, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 4th 63
5,45 AM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 30th yesterday with 50cts Enclosed. I have heard nothing definite about the Furlough, this morning I shall call on the Chap, & see what he thinks about it. I do not know whether, I have acknowledged, all the Money, you sent or not. I think however I have.

Today & tomorrow we have nothing to do, I never needed a rest more in my life, For two days past, we have had very hard Drills, Double Quicking us, until we could hardly, drag myself along. The day before, we Drilled in Firing Blank Cartridges. I am expecting to hear every day, that we are to have a Brigade Drill, then we shall have a Sticker. It was reported yesterday, that the Pay Master was at Union Mills, & was to come up here today, I hope he will come up soon.  Going to Washington is getting played out again. You say if I should get a Furlough before, Pay Day, to borrow the money of the Chaplain & let him Draw. I could not do that, no one, unless it be my Capt, could draw my money.

I am very glad to hear the House is so near Paid for. It will relieve you of a great Burden, I have no Doubt. Now we can improve, & know we are working, for ourselves. I should like to work about three months on the Place now. Do not place any dependence on my coming Home, for I can not even hope yet, It is a very hard job to get a Furlough here.

We are having Recititations in Tactics, twice a week at the Lieuts. they are very interesting to me, & besides I have learned a great deal Even on Battallion Drill I can tell, what is to be done. I am carrying myself very straight, in Col’s Presence, always coming to the Position of a Soldier, Heels on the same line, Toes turned out equally, forming little less than a Right Angle &c &c.  He noticed me very particularly yesterday.

Last night I made the 11th Mass, Battery Boys a Call, They had Quartett singing &c. They are a splendid lot of Boys, it does a man good to talk to them. They are Perfect Gentlemen. Their Time is out, next month, while ours, 2 years & 4 months. however we can stand it. I have not been so tired & lame in a long time as I am this morning, I am stiff all over.


Miss Rosa

I was very glad to hear, from you, the other day & should have answered it before, but have no time.  I am glad to hear you can ride Horseback, so well, I shall have to come home & see about it. I suppose if I come home you will let me take the Horse to go & see my Girls around the Country. I should have to do that by all means. Have you commenced studying French yet, I shall hope, to see the day, that you are an accomplished, Scollar [sic]. Remember the Gold Watch the Day, you Graduate

I like to hear from you often, they are such sensible little letters

Kiss Maggie for me

Your Brother



Camp Hayes April 4th 8 PM

I received a letter from George today, which had altogether to [sic] many Flourishes to suit a Soldier. there was but very little News in it.

We little expected Capt today, as it was reported that, they left Home on Wednesday last. Tonight it is snowing hard, & the wind is blowing very hard, so that we are afraid the Tent will go over. This Afternoon, the Color Sergt, came to my Tent & said the Colonel told him to detail his Color Guard, so at last I am in the Color guard. I expect it will be read tomorrow afternoon on dress Parade. I am the sergts, right hand man. Now Good Bye, Picket, Camp Guard, Reserve & all this trouble.  I went down, to see how the Chaplain was getting along about the Furlough, as there was several in, I did not mention it, I take the Papers regularly, to him, when I get them. I am afraid this being in the Color Guard, will make a difference, to my Furlough. However I hope not.

Tomorrow, if it is Pleasant we have General Inspection, by Genl Hayes, Dont we hope it will storm. the Paymaster has not arrived yet, though we hope to see him soon. You can form no Idea, how Strict our Col, is getting, the Boys all say, He is making Regulars of us, No other Col in the Brigade, compels a man to go on Battallion Drill, the same day, that he comes off Picket. This is Positively Cruel, no rest the night before, then Drill 2 hours & a half. the Col is very anxious to have the credit of having the Best Drilled Regt in the Field, then we shall be shoved in Front.

April 5th 5 AM. Last night I was Detailed as Street guard with 2 men, so I slept until 3 AM, & have kept a watch the rest of the time. the snow is about 4 inches deep & is Snowing hard all the time, so this Plays out our Inspection. Long Rolls are played out in our Camp, Now we have a Guard nights, whose Business it is to rouse the men up, & get them out as silently as possible. This is altogether the Best plan, for by Beating the Drum, you would let the enemy know just where we are.  just as we were going to bed last night, the order came for the men, to have everything ready to fall out, that the Rebel Cavalry, lay within 50 Rods of our Picket line. It turned out like a great many other things do, nothing in it.

Yesterday it was reported in Camp, that there was some chance, of our Going as Heintzmans, Body Guard. It would be an Honorable Position. Here it is Sunday again, I think more of home on that day, than any other. I am feeling very well again now, though tired out, something like I felt last winter. I shall not be deprived of my night Rest as much now, & that is a great deal. We hear nothing farther about our going to Warrenton, it has hushed up again.

I shall hope to hear from you today

Love to all




I am sorry to hear from Father, that you are not very steady, & that you were not doing very well. I am very sorry for this Charlie. I have great hopes in you, & now of all times, you should do what you could, to make Home pleasant, instead of being so wild. I have passed through all of these things & know just how it will end, you are only harming yourself. You will one day see the Folly of your course & will bitterly repent the course you now are pursuing. now is the time to turn,

If I am taken away now, who is Mother to Depend upon, who is to support the Family if Father is taken away. Charlie I want you to think of these things, If I had not thought of these things, I should not have left Home, as contented as I did, if I had not thought, you would do your best. I hope you will do better in the Future. remember, there is a great deal depending on you, you must fill my Place & do your best. Now Charlie I hope you, will take this kindly, & let me advise you a little. Charlie I hope to see, you occupying a good Position in Society. I wish you would confide a little more in me do not be afraid of a Brother, you have no better Friend than me.

Now Charlie write me a good long letter

Your Loving Brother


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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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