Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 3, 1863

Camp Hayes
May 3d
7,40 PM

Dear Father

We are in great excitement in Camp tonight, we have just recd orders, to be ready to move with 3 days Rations in our Haversacks & everything Packed up. It is reported that we are to Reinforce Hooker, in case he needs help. We are to march to Union Mills & there take the Cars, for Warrenton. I heard tonight that we were to go to Warrenton, & be held as Hookers Reserve. The Boys are all feeling well. I intend sending this by one of the 9th Art, Boys, that is if I can not send it by Mail.

5,15 AM 4th. We have slept good all night & are now ready for anything that may turn up. Unless Hooker meets with some Disaster we shall remain here, I think he can hold his own, I think this will turn out, the way our other Marching Orders did. We had Regt Inspection yesterday morning, as usual, now it is the order to have Regt Inspection every Sunday. We are Drilling in the Bayonet Excercises, I can write but little this morning. Do not expect that we are going to leave here, for no one in Camp, thinks we shall.

I will write every Day, for awhile, until we get settled

Love to all


I saw Gilbert Baily, yesterday in the 126th NY, Also Mr Stuarts Son, merchant of Ovid. [Delas] Baily is in Chicago, he has, been to Nebraska

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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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