Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 15, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 15th 63

Dear Father

There is but little news to write this morning, but I thought you would be anxious to hear from me, so I thought I would write a few lines. The order, for our marching is not yet Countermanded, but we do not move. We are still all in confusion, expecting, every day, that we will go in the morning. I think if we leave here we shall go to Culpepper by the way of Warrenton. It is about 30 miles from here, to go over the Bull Run Battle Field, through Manassas Gap. I hope we shall make this move, I am anxious to go through this Country. This Country & Prince William, looks better than any other part of the State.

there is no sight of the Paymaster yet, I am afraid it is played out. I shall want to see the PM, before we leave here. I should think, if we were going to make an advance movement, that we should be paid first. It is raining hard, here today, so we have got a Holiday. I have not had a talk yet with the Capt about the Color Guard. I shall try & speak to him today, & ask him, what the prospect is of getting a Furlough. I am afraid however it is played out. I have not heard any thing, from the Chaplain, about it, so I do not know, whether he had done any thing or not.

The Boys are all anxious to go in Front, as most of them have friends, in the Regt there. I think I should find some I knew. It was reported here yesterday, that Hooker had, been Fighting at Frericksburg, & that we had Possession of the Place, both of the Batterys Fired a Salute in honor of the event. We have 2 splendid Batterys here of 6 Guns each, one of them, their time is out in 4 weeks, the other in 4 months.

Well I don’t know any more news to write.

Will write again tomorrow

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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