Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 18, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 18th /63
6,30 AM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 13th, yesterday, so will answer this AM. You will see, we have not moved yet, nor is there any unusual signs, of moving. Every thing is moving along the same as usual, except we have but few Rations. The Rations were all turned over to the QM, last Sunday, except the 3 days we had in our Haversacks, & for some reason or other, we can Draw, no Fresh ones. I do not know what I should have done if I had not got the Tea & Sugar, from Home.

Yesterday, both of the Batterys here, were Shooting at a Target, 2 miles off, they made some pretty good Shots. We have Drilled, quite often, in Firing Blank Cartridges. I like the Drill, but not cleaning the Gun.

I did not think it was any Fault, of yours, my not hearing from you oftener, I get more Mail & hear from Home than any other man in the Co. I have not had a chance to talk with the Capt yet, though hope to soon. Dont think any more about the Furlough, for I shall not come Home on one, so you will have to come down here & see me. You do not know how hard it is to get a Furlough, If I were Sick, it would be different.

No News from the Pay Master yet, I am afraid we shall not see him yet in awhile. I do know what [T…] you mean If it is Hunter, it is a mistake, he is here, all right. That man from the 39th had had his Trial and Sentence, but we do not know what it is, the Sentence has gone to Washington, for the Presidents Approval, when it is returned, then we shall know. I want to see the Man Shot, He will most likely be Shot, before the Regts.

You ask me if we hear the News from Washington, we do hear the Rumors but nothing different, unless we get the Chronicle only 10cts. The Detail for the Color Guard, has not been read yet, when I have a talk with the Capt I can tell what to do, & not before, There are a great many advantages in belonging to the Guard but there would be many more, in being Sergt. I just like Capt Holmes stand the first chance of Promotion, The report about reducing the [ ] of the non & Commissioned Officers is all Bosh, I do not think there is anything in it

Love to all
Will write tomorrow


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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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