Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 16, 1863

Camp Hayes
May 16th 63
4,15 PM

Dear Father

I have just recd your letter of the 11th this PM, with $2,50 Enclosed. Which I was very glad to get, & which I shall make go as far as possible. I also read the Envelope, with the Cigar enclosed, which I am very much obliged for. I am now taking a Comfortable Smoke, while writing this. Nothing I like better than a good Smoke here. I have heard nothing about my Pocket Book yet. I think I must have lost it while Drilling. The Drill Ground is, full of holes, Ditches, & is very rough. It would be 9 chances of 10 if ever finding it. Several in the Regt, have lost their money, but have never found it again.

Sunday morning 5,30 AM. I must say I was a little Disappointed yesterday in not seeing you, I had made up my mind, during the week, that you would be here on Saturday, I do not know why, but I could not help thinking you would come.

Since I have been up, I have finished, fixing up, for Inspection, Cleaned my buttons blacked boots & now am ready for everything. I generally have my things in as good order, as any one, as the Inspection always says. We had the Report here, that Richmond was taken, but no one believed it. I like the [Idea] of Charles learning the Printers Trade & do not think he is any too young to comence. I do not know, whether we are in Heintzmans Corps, or not, If we are, I think there is a poor sight, for our leaving with him. Things look every day more like our staying here. We have got 3 or 4 Days work yet on the Breast Works, then we can Drill again. This work suits me, for I have nothing to do, but oversee.

I can not tell when the Garibaldi will be hung. his Sentence has not been read on Dress Parade yet. There is but little extra news in Camp, all quiet

Hoping to see you soon with love to all

Your Son


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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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