Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 23, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 23d

Dear Father

I recieved you welcome letter of the 11th, last night & as it is raining this morning, I have a good time to answer it. Your letter did me a great deal of good, I was fully Discouraged & tired out, but your letter made me feel a great deal better. To be sure I was dissappointed, about the Furlough, more even thanI would acknowledge. I had been trying to forget all about, but every once in awhile, I would think of something I wanted to do, when I got home. But of course it is useless now. I shall do my Duty however, where ever I am, if in the the Co, or Color Guard Depend upon it, our Emblem can never be soiled by Traitors hand’s, while I have a Drop of Blood left.

I am still with the Color Guard, though the Detail has not been read I shall not be surprised if Capt H, will want me to come back to the Co. I have done no Duty, for 2 weeks in the Co. all I have to do, is to come out at Battallion Drills & Dress Parades. Yesterday afternoon, while we were out at Battallion Drill. Col recd orders, for us to be ready at 5 PM, for Brigade Parade, with Boots Blacked & white Gloves. So back we marched to Quarters. It soon turned out that Maj Genl, Abbercrombie, was to be here.

About 6,30 we marched over to the 39ths Camp & were drawn up in line, facing the Court House Road. the Battery Boys fired a salute, & we presented Arms to the Genl. He is an old man, about 55, White Hair, very good looking & looks as if he Could fight. If it had not rained today, we should have had, a Review, but now it is hard telling, when we shall.

Tomorrow that man from the 39th NY, who murdered those 5 men, is to be Hung, before the Brigade. He would be shot but that is to Honorable a Death for him to Die.

I received 5 Papers from you last night & was very glad to get them. I had not got them over an hour, before the boys came around, saying Stacey, lend me a Paper, or something to read. I always lend my Papers, to the Boys, just as soon, as I read them. Tom Hooker, always gets, them first. Tom is the best looking Soldier in Co D, he knows his Duty & does it. Tom & I get along, well together I think a great deal of him.

I received the 50cts in Postage Currency & the Stamps, both will come very acceptable now. I am afraid Mother will be disappointed, about, the Lieut, my Father is not rich enough. It is money that gets these Offices, not real merit.

It was reported here yesterday, that we were going, to reinforce, Foster, in SC, I think of we do not soon make a move, we shall stay here for some time to come. I hope not, for I would like, to do something.

Your oppinion [sic] of Dreyer, agrees with mine, he can not be trusted. I have had a good chance, to see & know, how he works. I shall make him Pay me, for the Revolver, or get another, He can not get around that.

I do not want you to give up, coming down here, I do not think at the outside it could cost you over $50 & I am willing to pay $30 of that, so pack up & come down. just as soon as I ams Paid off, I shall send the $30 home by Express, for that Purpose, I am sure it would do you good & I know it would me, I would like you to see something of the Battle Field, If I knew when you were coming, I could get a 2 Day Pass & come down to Washington. I think I should have no trouble in this.

Charlie Cookingham, expects his Father, Sunday next, I shall hope to see you some of these days. I found my diary again. I think more of that, than anything else that I have got. There is nothing new, about our being Paid off, so I can tell nothing about it. I hope we shall have a hand, in settling this War & finishing it up now, rather than laying around here. I want to be in one or two good Fights, before I come home. I will write again tomorrow.

Love to all
Your Son


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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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