Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 6, 1863

Camp Hayes

May 6th 7 PM

Dear Father

Since I wrote you last, I have met with quite a misfortune, While on Skirmish Drill, I lost my Pocket Book, containing my, something over $8,00, & can find nothing of it. So I shall be obliged to get $5,00 of you, I did not like to send for this, but as we may be Ordered to the Front & it would not do to go without money. This looks rough, one week after Pay Day, but it can not be helped.

7th 5,30 AM It has been raining here for, a Day & two nights past, & now it looks like raining all day today. Well there is one comfort we will not have to Drill. We commenced drawing Soft Bread again, yesterday, we Drew one Days Rations. Our Col, has not returned from Washington yet. It is reported that Col Williams, is trying to get his Regt, 125th NY, to Washington. I hope he will get Fooled on it. Hays got a Dispatch last week asking, for one of his Regts to be sent to W, Hays Replied, I have got, no Regt, that is fit. Which was a Lie, for if we are not fit, there never was a Regt, All we care about, this Rain, it will hinder Hooker, now & hold him back for 2 or 3 weeks.

The Staff Officers are building them a new mess Tent, & are fixing it up nice, this looked but little like moving. Our Stay here depends altogether on how Hooker succeeds, This morning, we have one of those mornings I love at Home, Thick Foggy & Damp. There is but little extra news in Camp this morning so I have not much to write

Love to all


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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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