Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 18, 1863

On Fatigue Duty
Camp Hayes Centerville
May 18th 1863
3,50 PM

Dear Father

I have recd your letter of the 14th, with the medicine enclosed. I am glad to hear, you think of coming down this week, & hope nothing will occur, to cause you to alter your mind. As for the forward movement, I do not think it will be yet. At any rate, we have Visitors every day, almost, from the other side of the River, & I do not think you will have any trouble in getting across the River.

I have not got the Sore Throat now, though I did have it last week. Now I am troubled with sore lips, a great many of the boys are troubled with this at present.

You ask about Dreyer He has always been Sergt from the time he was Promoted, until he was Reduced the other day, for Gambling. He never has been Hospital Stewart, nor ever even had a chance. He might at one time have been Ward Master, in one of the Hospitals, but now it is played out. He does not offer to pay fo the Revolver but says he will get another, (when he gets ready I suppose) I think I will write to Maj Robinson, as soon as I can get time. I will send you a list of my Correpondents, in this on a Card. You will think it very small, compared, to what a man in my position should do. I think if you come down here, it would make some difference to my Promotion, if there is any such thing in the [C....t]

I should think Tinsleys, would be a good palce of Charlie, to learn the Printers Trade. If he intends learning a Trade, I should advise him to learn that in preference, to any other, I know of. You say, Hunt writes home, that the boys are tired of the War & want to go home. There are some, of course who will complain, But I know the majority do not want to go home, until they have done something. Hunt himself will say so. As you say, we are but little alarmed, about the Examination in Tactics, I am posting myself all the time, & can say I can Command a Co, better, than some Officers in this Regt & I never expect to be a Commissioned Officer in this Co, If the whole Co, was raised in Lyons, there might be a chance, though as it is, there is but little.

I wish you would tell mother, that it is my Orders to come, down here, & I wish them obeyed. I can not see why Mother could have any possible objection to your coming down here. It can not cost, over $40, at the outside. At any rate I shall expect to see you here this week.

May 19th 6 AM. We are to have another, Brigade Inspection this morning. I only wish you were to be here, as it would be quite a sight.  I have but little, time to write, as they have just told us, prepare for Brigade Inspection

My love to all

Manley

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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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