Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 22, 1863

Camp Hayes
May 22d /63
8 PM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 18th, this PM, & will answer it this PM. I hope you succeed in getting started, if not this week come as soon as possible.

I like the idea, of the Ladies coming, for I think it will do them a great deal of good. Mother especially. She then would see how we live, & then would rest easier. Besides, it would be a great change. As for the Furlough during the Summer, such a thing might be possible, but I think, it rather doubltful. They are granting but few Furloughs, in the Brigade. If things settle down in Virginia, it might be possible, but that will not be done, just yet.

We are having a great many Visitors in Camp, just now, they keep coming, every day, that looks but little like having trouble, about Passes. I do not think I will go to the Mills tomorrow to meet you, things do not look deffinite [sic] enough about your coming, If the Ladies come, they had better come all the way & not stop at Washington, for if we should not be able to get Passes, it would be quite a Disappointment. I do not think I should have any trouble, about a Pass, for Washington, they Boys are getting them every day. At any rate I shall hope to see you soon.

There is but little news in Camp tonight. We are having very warm weather now, I had a talk with the Chap, today, he told (me) he did not think we should leave this Camp for 2 months to come, some Troops must be kept here & he thought we should stay.

May 23d 6,30 AM. There is no extra news this morning

Hope to see or hear from you soon

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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