Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 2, 1863

Camp Hayes Centerville
Co D 111th Regt NYSV
May 2nd 1863
5,15 AM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 27th, last night, so will answer this morning. This Morning from 8 to 10, we have a Drill the boys all like, namely firing at a Target, with Ball Cartridges.

Now about who I belong too [sic], I am sure I can not tell. I do not want anything serious to happen, on account of me, who I belong too. I suppose it is a Partnership Concern. I will try & write to Mother, as often as I do you, after this. It has seemed more convenient when writing to write to you, so I have done so.

I am glad you have not entirely given up, your visit here, & hope Cookingham will give such a good account of his Visit, that you may be induced to come. If you come I should try to either meet you at Washington, or return as far as there with you. It would be easier to go from here there, than to meet you there. As soon as the Garibaldi is Hung, I will try & send a full account of it. Visitors are not searched that come to our Camp, though your Baggage my be when you sross the River. They allow no Whiskey to be brought over.

Capt has not as yet, said anything to me about the Color Guard, so I do not know he likes it.

Yesterday morning Col, tried to get Permission from the General, to take us out on the Battle Field, but could not, General said he had no right, to grant him the Permission. We have now 4000 Cavalry at this Post, they are going out this morning on a Scout. The 125th Returned yesterday. They had a slight Skirmish the first night they were out.

We are now to have, Regt Inspection every Sunday. At the Inspection Thursday, Col told me, Corp, your Gun & Equipments are in good condition, you are a good soldier. so much for getting the Cols good will. If you come down here I shall get excused from Duty, & then we will visit the Picket Lines. If you come, be sure, to get Transportation, so you can ride to Union Mills


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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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