Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 22, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 22d 1863

Dear Father

I little expected to get a letter from you last night, but we got no mail. We now have got a new Major General, J J Abercrombie, it is reported that he is to make, this his Head Quarters. Yesterday aftyernoon at 2 PM, we went out to Battallion Drill, we had been out about 3/4 of an hour, when the Col, read orders, for us to be ready, to be received at 3 PM. So we Broke Ranks, Packed our Knapsacks, Blacked our Boots & fixed up, as soon as possible. The whole Brigade was Reviewed, by Genl Hayes. I wished you were here, as it looked Splendid.

There is but very little news in Camp, no signs of Pay Master yet. Things look now like staying here. I lost my Diary, the other Day in Camp. I think more of that then anything else I have got. I hope I shall find it. I suppose, you have now given up all hopes of my coming home, I am sorry for a short Rest would do me Good.

Tell Mother, if we have to march, that we have got a Col to march under, he says he has been in the Ranks & knows just how to march the Boys. He is merciful on the march if not on the Drill. He believes in pushing us right through on the Drill.

I shall write again tomorrow, when I hope to have something to write

Your Son



Miss Rosa

I think that a leading question, asking me if I were Engaged, Well I can not say that I am, though I have between 15 & 20 chances to be, I think I shall postpone that, until I see whether, I shall live through this War. I do not want to Bother myself, with a woman now. Since I have made up my mind, to live a life of single Blessedness.

I am glad you passed Examination, so well, I shall expect to see a great change in you, when my 3 years is up. You must keep up good courage, even if I have to move, I may come out all right yet. Kiss Maggie for me, write often

Your Loving Brother




I was surprised the other day, to get a letter from you, I did not know, but you had quit writing to me. If I had come home I should have set down a few rules for you to follow in my Absense, one is to write a good long letter to me every week. Now you can just as well, sit down every Saturday afternoon and write me a good long letter as not. Since I have been at this Camp, I have read, several, long letters from Gib Case, full of news, now if strangers can write, cant you my Brother, manage to write. I intend in a Day or two to write you just how we live in Camp, how we pass away time &c &c. Tell me if there is any new Engines on the Road & the No, & any other news, about the Boys

Your Brother


How old are you, I have forgotten

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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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