Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

April 30, 1863

Camp Hayes
April 30th
5,20 AM

Dear Father

Rather early this to commence writing a letter, but as soon as a Soldier gets up his Duty Commences. No excuse unless he is Sick. There is too much routine about a Soldiers life, the first thing he hears in the morning is the Bugle or Drum, & the also the last at night. I shall have to hire a Drummer when I get home, to beat the Revilee before I can get up in the morning. If I should come home on a Furlough, I might raise a great disturbance the first night, Falling out thinking I heard the Long Roll.

Yesterday afternoon we had Battallion Drill, we marched a mile, to a Parade Ground, & commenced Drilling, it began to Rain so the Col, tured us around & Double Quicked us (165 Steps to the minute) all the way to Camp. The Color Sergt gave out & then I tool the Colors, & carried them, until, very near Camp, then I fell out could go no farther. All that came in Camp the Col, gave a Ration of Whiskey. Today the Col says we have got to try it again, & have got to come in. This morning I am Stiff & Lame all over. The Col says he will make us Double Quick 3 miles, if we can not do it.

I received your letter of the 25th, yesterday. In regard to the Religious Services in the Fornoon, it would be impossible. Regt Inspection from 10 to 12, then reading the Articles of War, & then Inspection of Quarters. The whole of which, takes until 2 PM & are busy all the time.

Dreyer says he will buy me another Revolver & I shall hold him to it. I received the Tea you sent & will make the most of it. I received the Currency & Postage Stamps. I now take all of my old Rock Dems, to an old Union Man out to the Stone Mills, he was formerly from Skeneatlas (Skaneateles) N Y, He told me he could get no news, at all & he would be oh so much obliged to me, if would let him have my old Papers.

Hoping you have not given up coming down here. I remain

Your Son 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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