Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 27, 1863

Camp Hayes
Centerville Va
April 28
9 AM

Dear Father

Here is some Paper that I bought here for 8 cts [a] [Q...ne]. which I think is as cheap as you can get it at Home. It answers every [p...] for a Soldier. I like this better than the blue I got from home, last, though that is good enough for any [one].

This week I have go nothing to do, until from 4 to 5,30 PM, when we Drill in Bayonet Exercise. Saturday morning we Drill in Firing at a Target. This the boys all like. Thursday is Muster Day, we will all have two months more pay coming.

This morning Mr Cookingham is visiting the Picket Line, I wish you were here to join the Party. Just to learn how Picket Duty is done, down South. You can learn something how this War is Carried on by Coming down here, more than you ever could by reading the Papers. you also would have the Chance of seeing Washington. If you should come I should get a Pass & go as Far as Washington, on your return.

Since I wrote about the 125th, leaving, it has turned out, they have gone between here & the Coast House, to Guard some Road Probably our Regt will Relieve them.

28th 5, 30 AM. I received your letter of the 23d last night, with 50cts enclosed. I should not be surprised if we have a little brush here before long. Genl [St....] Davis of Cavalry has gone out around the Country in Front to try & drive in these Gurillas if nothing more. You can do just as you please about publishing my letters in the Republican, You can if you choose too, only change the Signature & do not sign it Co D. We are all straight about the Rations now, I mean as well of, as we have ever been.

I am in the color Guard yet, & shall stay in, until I find out that I can better myself, by remaining in the Co, I want to have a talk with the Capt, & find out how things stand.

I expect you will get this by Mr Cookingham, by next Saturday or Sunday

My love to all

Manley

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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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