Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 26, 1863

May 26th 6,30 AM

Dear Mother

We have been in so much excitement for the past few days, that I have not written as much as I should have done. I was very glad, on Saturday, to see Father. I had just been down in Swimming, & had washed my Shirt, & had nothing on but my Blouse. I was looking rather rough, but then they could see how we work it. Every day, since they have been here, we have run around the Country. I think Father has enjoyed his visit, very much. The Col has been very kind he has excused me from Duty every day, & has signed our Passes for Washington. I am very glad they have come down, it has done me a great deal of good, both the rest & the visit. I am expecting a great deal from my Trip to Washington, & think the change, will benefit me, At any rate, I shall feel more like doing my Daily Duty.

I should have been very glad, to have seen you here, & think the change would have done you a great deal of good. I had no idea you thought of coming, or I should have written & urged it before. I think I shall succeed in getting a Furlough in August, that is if we remain in this Camp. Then I shall have be 21 in August also. I am very much obliged for the things you sent, the Sugar, Tea, Stockings, Collars &c &c. all of which I wanted. I am now equipped for the Summer, I suppose Father has told you all about his Travels. There is one thing that I am sorry about that is, that we could not go on the Bull Run field.

Love to all
Will write soon again


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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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