Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 13, 1863

(in the top margin)

I wish you would send me a $1,00 worth of Stamps & I will settle Pay Day

Camp Hayes Centerville

April 13th 1863

8,45 PM

Dear Father

We have not as yet moved, though we expect to soon. Today we got all Packed up, then got no orders to move, so we have Co Drill in the morning, & Battallion Drill in the afternoon. It is reported now, that we are to move early tomorrow morning. I do not think we shall go, quite as quick as that. this afternoon it was reported, that we should move tonight.

April 14th 5,15 AM.  Still we have no orders to move, The Col said last night, we should go some time this week he did not know what day. a Lieut in Co C, told me yesterday, that the report was, there was [20,000] Rebs at Warrenton, & that we should join our Division which would be 20,000 Strong, & go out there last night have our Drill just to blind them.  I should not be much surprised if we did not move at all, though we are all Packed up. Our Squad Packed the Trunk full of things we are going to leave,, though I do not know where they will be stored. We are all in Confusion here, everything Packed up.

My cold is a little better this morning, I do not cough any more.

The Idea seems to prevail among the men, that if we leave here, it will be only for a Scout, & that we shall return here again. I do not believe this however, if we once get started, we shall go down in Front. We have seen nothing of the Paymaster yet, nor do we hear any more about him. I am afraid we shall get slipped up, on the Pay.

I am very glad to get the Rock Democrats, you send. I think more of them than any other Paper. I think I shall write a letter to the Dem, in a few Days.

You are very much mistaken, about the vices of Camp life, to be sure there is a great deal, that is bad going on, but not near as much as you would think, among so many men. The worst [C...] is Card Playing, just to pass away the time, nothing more, this would not be, if there was plenty of reading, or anything to amuse them.

Tell Charlie that I do not call that last, a letter, I want a Sheet full. We are having warm pleasant weather here now, Spring in earnest, only different from yours, by having such cold nights. I shall have a talk with the Capt, today, about the color Guard, I shall see whether there is any [r]ight, outside for me.

My Love to all

will write just as often as possible

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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