Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 13, 1863

Camp Hayes
May 13th
5,30 PM

Dear Father

I have just recd your letter of the 9th with the Stamps enclosed, which I am glad to get. I was very glad to hear from you tonight, for to tell the truth, I felt a little homesick. I have had a bad toothe Ache all day, & felt miserable.

Yesterday morning at 8 AM, we went to work, throwing up Breast Works, & worked until 6,30 PM, having 2 hours interruption at noon, Each Co, was divided into 3 Reliefs, under the charge of a Sergt & Corpl, & worked one hour & rested 2, The Col says we have about a week of just such work to do. Well I do not care, for I do not have to work,

Last night we got orders, to fall out to Brigade Review & Inspection, at 8 this AM. We marched about a mile from our Camp, to the Review Ground, & was Reviewed & Inspected by Genl Abercrombie. We then went through a few movements, & returned to Camp, It was very warm & with our heavy Knapsacks, it made the Sweat pour off from us. I wished a great many times you had been here, for it looked splendid.

I read a letter from [J..o] Voak, tonight, they are all well at present. I think our leaving here is played out, now, things do not look like our leaving here at present, nor do I think we shall leave here at all. I thought you knew about the Officers, being bought in this Regt. Even in Co C, the Capt would not Promote one of his Sergts, to Lieut, unless he would pay him $1,00 for it.

I should be very glad to get Caseys Tactics, it is just what I wanted, & need every day, When a man undertakes to be a Soldier, he might as well be a perfect one. If they do not cost too much, I would like the 3 volumes. I flatter myself that I am pretty well posted in Tactics.

May 14th /63 6 AM. We have had quite a Rain during the night, & this morning, it is quite cool & comfortable. I think we shall work on the Fortifications today, though it looks some like rain. When you come down, do not forget the Cotton Socks, for I need them, you may bring me a couple lbs of Sugar, this is the only thing that, we are short of.

I hope you will, soon change your mind, & come down here yet, the sooner the better, Will write again tomorrow

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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