Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 8, 1863

Camp Hayes Centerville
Co D 111th Regt NYSV
May 8th /63

Dear Father

I recd your letter of the 30th this PM & was glad to hear you had not entirely given up the idea of the Visit to Centerville. I think if you intend to visit the Army, this is the place, of all others. I hope you will succeed in getting over the River, which I think you will have no trouble about it. Be sure if you come to get Transportation from Alexandria here, as you can get it from here then.

If you come, I think you can get the Chaplains Horse, to ride around the country here. If you can get hold of a small Map of Virginia, please bring it. I would like that very much. The old man at the Stone Mills, is a good Union Man, though he is a little suspicious of the Soldiers, they have destroyed so much for him. If you go around this Country, you will be Thankful the war is not north. You will see but little until you cross the River, then you will see the effects of the war.

Yesterday we had quite an exciting time in Camp. The news came here in the morning, that Hooker was driven back & had lost 4,000 men. We then got orders to pack up everything & in case we were attacked, to fall back to the Defences of W, that is if we could not make a stand. While we were eating our Dinner, the Long Roll Beat, & we fell out, in a hurry. Col Williard had a Dispatch from the President, saying there was no truth in the report, about Hooker. That relieved us, we then could cheer heartily. We get the news every day here, the W morning Chronicle, there is always a great rush for Papers.

Today all has been quiet in Camp, though all anxious to hear a good account from Hooker.

May 9th /63  All quiet during the night. This is a lovely morning warm & pleasant. We Drill this morning in Firing at Target, This I like & yet I do not as we have to clean up our Guns for Inspection in the Afternoon. Ed [McI..ain] staid all night, with me last night. Lieut Moon is expected today.

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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