Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 15, 1863

On Fatigue Duty
Camp Hayes
May 15th 1863
6,30 PM

Dear Father

I little expected a letter from you, this PM, but was disappointed. I writing home for the things I wanted you to bring, (not send) I forgot to mention a Leather Watch Guard, mine is worn out. also one or two Lead Pencils, another Pocket Book. I wish you would also get my Light Boots fixed up, a Light Tap, put on. They with these that I have got I think will last me this summer. to be sure they are light, but on Dress Parade & Inspection’s they will be very nice these warm days. Do not forget the summer Socks, & I wish you would send me a pair or two of good white Gloves, with my name marked on them.

Al Hunt wants you to get him a good Hunter Case watch costing about $15,00, a smaller size than mine, about Ladies size, Patent Lever. He will write to his father about it. He wanted to buy mine, but as I do not want to sell, he wishes you to pick one out for him, How much did mine cost,

There is but (little) news in Camp tonight all quiet, we hear nothing about Hooker, so can tell nothing about what he is doing. Everything looks now like staying here. The Officers all say, that there is no Prospect, of our leaving. Dreyer is feeling pretty sore, about his reduction, although he expects to get his Position again. I can think of nothing more so will close, Shall hope to hear from you 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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