Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 5, 1863

Camp Hayes
May 5th 1863
5,15 AM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 30th last night. As yet we have had no Orders to start, nor does things look now like our going at all.

Yesterday afternoon the Col was Ordered to Washington, in a hurry. I think it was, with Refference [sic] to our going to Washington of just to join Hooker, we care but little which, though of course we, should like to be stationed at Washington. the 125th & 39th NY have returned they only went out on a Scout.

I have not returned to the Company, nor have I been detailed as yet. The Garibaldi has not been Hung, though there is no telling, when he will be. The boys are all wondering what the Col is Ordered to Washington for, I think something is up.

There is but little news in Camp, this morning, everything Quiet. Yesterday, the Chaplain shouldered a Gun, & Drilled in the Ranks, of Co K. He would make a good Soldier. I will try & write every morning, until we know something different about this. I hope this will not interfere with your Visit, for if you come this week, you will find us here.

Love to all



Dear Mother

I suppose according to the Order, I lately received, I should have Directed this to you, but I thought I would Violate the Orders a little & write to both. I think if Father should come down here there would be not trouble about his Preaching to the Regt. I am sure Brown would not object. Our services on Sunday are changed now, we have Preaching at Sundown, before the Col’s tent.

We are having Splendid Weather here with Warm Days & Cold nights, Foggy Mornings.

I can think of but little news to write this morning

I will write tomorrow

Your Son



Camp Hayes
May 5th 6,30 PM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 1st, this PM & as we are having a regular Virginia Rain I will write a few lines. It has been raining & blowing most of the afternoon,& now it has settled down to steady Rain. This is one of the Rough nights, for Picket, Barney Albert H, & Aleck, are all out, I pity them

I am now sitting at my table, the Door of the Tent open, a good Fire burning in out little Sheet Iron stove, [Harvey] at my right hand reading the Republican, the Water dripping down, inside the Tent, & yet I am contented, I do not remember ever felling better, in my life, Why is this simply because I know I am doing my Duty.

I think the longer, I am in the Army the more I see of this Rebellion, the more anxious, I am to have a hand, in putting it down.

Tomorrow night I shall have been 9 months in the Service, it seems a great while, but it has been a short 9 months to me. I have been glad a great many times lately, that I did, just as I did 9 months ago. I think if I live, I shall one day be proud to own I was in the Army, during the Years of 62 & 63.

The Boys are all in high Spirits tonight, we have just got the News, that Gen Lee, is Prisoner & Vicksburg is ours. The Boys all think something now will be done. It seems now that, when we had Orders the other night to be ready to move, that Hooker, had a Fight at Warrenton, only 22 miles from here. We do not expect now to leave here, unless Hooker meets with Reserves.

One of my Best Friends in this Co, is James Larue1, he is a model young man, I think, He & I have always been on the best of terms. Jimmy & I take a good many Scout Walks, around the Country here. He is the most sensible of any of the other boys. I have got a Fast Friend now in Phillip Clouse. I asked him one day, if I did not owe him, a little money, Says he, Stacey if you owed me $25,00 I would not take a cent. Says he, Stacey I never shall forget, how good you were to me when I was Sick. He actually Cried, when talking about it.

I am sorry you have Defered coming down here, I think now is the only & the best time. I hope you will change your mind, before it is too late.

I will send Miss Stout’s letter in this, I had forgotten to send it before. It is a very nice letter.

May 6th 6,30 AM. Nothing new this AM. I always when writing home, over night, leave the letter unsealed so in case of any [Thing] I am ready.

Hoping to see you before long

Your Son


1 Larue, James H.–age,24 Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Promoted corporal, no date; wounded in action, 3 Jul 1863, at Gettysburg, PA.; discharged for disability, 29 Jan 1864.
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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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