Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 19, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 19th 1863
Sunday morning 10 AM

Dear Father

I have just returned from Regimental Inspection, I was Inspected by the Ajt. The Colors & Guard are Inspected the first thing, so we do not have to stand long.

This is a Beautiful morning, just such a one as I would like to be at Home, just about this time you are going to Church, while I have nothing to do, but lay around. We can get but very little reading in Camp. I am the best off, as I can get more Papers than any of the rest of them.

I spoke to Lieut (Green) this morning, about the Furlough, he says he spoke to the Col, about it & he says, unless I can get a Certificate from the Doctor that he can not give me one. Green says he spoke to Capt Holmes, about it & he said he did not know, whether I could get one or not. So you see, my Furlough, is played out. I am sorry for that as I need a short rest. It would do me a great deal of good. Well I shall give it up for now. I hope you will come down here, & make a short visit. I know it is Expensive, but it will do both good. Do not look for me home now, as there is but one chance in 100 of my coming home. So you had better make up your mind to come down, when Francisco & the rest come.

It is reported now, that we are to be paid off on Wednesday, I hope it is so, for I need some Money. There is no more news, of our leaving here, so after all we may not go, yet in awhile. We shall however soon take the Field, we never will stay here. For my part, I would as soon go, as stay here.

We are begining [sic] to have very warm weather here, I dread the Warm weather here, We are pretty well Tanned up now but will we be, when we get down South Farther. I hear that Barney sent home, for [money] to go home on a Furlough, He had better wait a little. It is singular to me, that Hookers Army got short Furloughs, & why cant we. I must have a short talk with the Capt today, about things in General, though it will do no good.

The only way we can amuse ourselves here Sundays, is to walk around the Country. I wrote on the Envelope of my last letter, for some more Emery Paper, like the last you sent that is just the thing, it Polishes up a Gun tip top. If you get a chance, to send anything tell Charlie, to send me a good Fish Line, also, 1/2 Doz, good Hooks, different sizes, none of them large. There is quite a number of Streams around here & I am going Fishing some of these days.

Last night Signal Lights were seen, over to the South of us, we came very near, being turned out.

3,15 PM. Harvey & I just returned from a walk on the Chantilly Road or as some call it the Stone Mill Road out at the Mills, I found a man who came, from [Skineattas], 16 years ago. He & Wife are good Union Men. Their Son is in the North, for if he were at home the Rebs would Draft him & says she I would rather kill him than have him in the Rebel Army. He is only 15 years old. She says she has seen, Boys, in the SC Regts, only 14 years old. This man is well acquainted, with Louis Millard, he lives 8 miles from here, at a Place called Gum Spring. He says he is still a good Union Man, though he dare not come out too openly. His Boys are both in Dundee going to school. Here I saw an old negro, who gets all the news he can & then carrys it outside the the Rebs. This old Fellow lives at a Rank Seceshionists, inside of our lines. The man has a Son & Son in Law, in the Rebel Army.

So we had a very pleasant time altogether, though it seemed but a little like Sunday. Barney is Cooking Dock leaves, for Green, so we are going to have a Supper. There is a good Prospect of Barneys being Regimental Clerk. the present Clerk is going to Head Quarters & the Ajt has spoken to him about it & says he wants Barney there. It would be a good Position for him, & he is well qualified to fill it. Barney is a Splendid writer & could fill the Place, to perfection. I hope he will get it.

April 20th 1863 6 AM. Here it is the commencement of another week, it looks a great deal like rain. I received a letter from you, written at Rochester. I suppose you have received before this, my letter in which, I said we had marching Orders. We are still under marching orders & liable to march at any moment I do not think however,we shall leave this week. When we are Paid off, I shall send home $30,00, to part pay your Expenses, down here, N0 use looking for me Home. Unless we get in Hookers Army, then I might get a short leave of Absense, There is but little news in Camp, everything Quiet Will write soon

Love to all



Miss Rosa

I have not heard from you in several days, what is the matter, I hope you are not sick. I suppose you are having Vacation by this time, so you can take a great many rides in the Country. You must remember, you take my place in House Cleaning, this Spring also, in Packing up, this Fall. I am sorry that I have not been able, to get the little Dark, for you , You must wait, till, I get down to Fredericksburg, prehaps then I shall be able to get one, like your description.

Give my Love to Maggie
Your Brother


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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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