Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 7, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 7th /63

Dear Father

I have been expecting a letter from you for several days past but do not yet have received none. I have not been as long without a letter from Home in a long time.

I have heard nothing more about the Furlough for the past few Days. So I do not know how it is getting along. The Col has not yet made the Detail of Color Guard or has not had it read on Dress Parade.

We have not done anything since Saturday night, Sunday it was Stormy, so we had no Inspection, yesterday we had no Drilling. All seem to think we shall be paid off, this week However I can see but little signs of it. We are hoping praying Daily for him.

We have now a little easier Time Table to go by. 5 AM Revilee, 5,30 AM Sick call, 6,30 AM Breakfast, 7,30 Guard Mounting, 9,30 to 10,30 Co Drill, Dinner 12,30 Battallion Drill from 2 to 4 PM, Dress Parade at 6 PM, Tattoo at 8,30 PM Taps at 9 PM. Altogether it makes a very long Day. Today I am on Guard, the last time I hope.

Last night we had some Wheat Pancakes. We got Lieut Green, to get us some Flour, only 4cts a pound. I tell you it reminded me of home. I am very much afraid I shall not be able to get Home, It would be too much good luck, to ever happen to me.  I see by the Republican, that Capt Holmes, leaves Home today. I suppose you will send the Revolver by him.

There is but little news in Camp. I received the English Paper you sent, also a Rural New Yorker, from Mrs Stuart. I think more of the [Rock] Democrat than all the Papers put together. so I will not ask you to send any other paper. Genl says he does not intend to have us work quite as hard as we have for he has got some Fighting & marching for us to do, before long. Well let it come. I think I shall hear from You today.

My 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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