Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 11, 1863

Camp Hayes
May 11th 1863
7 PM

Dear Father

I read your letter of the 7th, this eve, & will quiet your fears a little, in regard to the Fighting. We are still in Centerville, doing Picket Duty, & Drilling the same as usual. Do not be alarmed about, our leaving this Place, for just as long as Hooker is in Front of us, we shall stay & hold this place, so in case he is defeated, he can have some thing to fall back on. Another thing that looks like, staying here, Today the 125th Changed their Camp & are fixing it up, for summer. Our Camp looks splendid, evergreens between all the Tents.

This has been a very warm day, about the warmest, we have had, this summer. This afternoon, while on Battallion Drill, just before we marched to Camp, the Col, told all that could not, Double Quick it to Camp, to fall out that he wanted to see them, After he had looked at them he told them, to get in the Ranks again & did not Double Quick us at all. I got all prepared for the Double Quick, rolled up my pants, unbottened my coat, but was not sorry, we did not do it. We have not as yet commenced work on the Breast Works, but can not tell when we shall.

The Non Commissioned Officers in the Regt, have been in a great deal of trouble today, about the examination, Co C’s, all resigned.  Lieut Green says he is not afraid of his, Boys, that we will pass. I myself am not much alarmed. Dreyer & the Orderly Sergt of Co F were reduced tonight, for Gambling. If this remain, there will be a sight for someone. I can not tell who it will be however, I have not had a talk with Capt, yet, so to see how things stand, but hope to soon.

May 12th 5,13 AM. Nothing new during the night all quiet on Rocky Run.

I hope this distance will not make a difference to you coming down here. Do not forget to send me some cotton Socks. The Government Socks, are to heavy & thick for summer wear

Hoping to hear from you soon, with 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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