Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 16, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 16th /63
5,30 AM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 10th yesterday & now answer it, though have not much news to write. there is but little danger of our moving today, or tomorrow, as it is too muddy. We shall have to wait a few days, till the Roads are better. It was reported just yesterday, that the 1st Brigade from the Court House, had gone, & the 2nd, from Union Mills, also the troops from Chantilly. If this is so, most likely we shall have yet to go. It is reported here now, that if Regts muster, less than 500 men they will be Consolidated. Also that only 3 Sergts & 21 Corporals, are allowed for less than 80 men. If this is so, I shall not go in the Color Guard.

I have had no chance to talk with the Capt yet though I have tried. However Furlough, is played out. It is now so wet & muddy, that we can not Drill, move or any thing else, a good time for the Soldiers to rest. There is one thing I must have, when I get my pay, that is Caseys United States Infantry Tactics. they are now used instead of [Handees].

I do not know who will pay the postage Bill, but does Mother propose to stop it, on account of expense. I am sure that getting letters & Papers from Home, does me more good, than it costs, I would not be with out the letters & Papers for a great deal.

We are in Caseys Division instead of Heintzlemans. That reminds me, if we move from here, you will have to add, to the, direction, like this 3d Brigade Caseys Division. Troops in the field, need this Extra.

I should be very glad, if I can not get a furlough, if you would come down here, it would do you good, & I should like to have you see, some of the sights here. If I can not come Home, I will give you $30,00 of my Pay, towards it. I know it would be expensive, but I think you can afford it. I can fight a great deal better, if I see some of you, before I commence. I hope you see this in a different Light, & conclude to come down, with them.

So you say, I think a great deal of the Tea, & take a great deal of comfort, with my tin Cup of Tea & Hard Tack. you do not know, what kind of a scrape you get into, when you, offered, me all the Pan cakes I could eat if I come Home. You have never Boarded a Soldier.

I had quite a compliment, the other day in a letter, from Hattie, She Speaking of some Soldiers, that had returned on a Furlough, said they seemed to act, perfectly natural. I do not think I have forgotten everything I ever knew.

This is a model letter a little of everything, but I guess it will pass.

All seem to think, we shall move yet. Our Hospital is taken Down. the Sick, taken to Alexandria, those unable to walk, to the Convalescent Camp, at Alexandria. I am at a stand still now whether to go in the color Guard or not. I can tell better, when I talk with Capt.

Will write soon



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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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