Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 29, 1863

Camp Hayes

May 29th 8 PM

Dear Father

Well we here in Camp again, which makes me feel at Home again. After you left last night I got my supper, & went around the City a little, then Slept at our Boarding house all night. This morning the first thing, after Breakfast, we went up to the Provost Marshals, to get our Pass, to cross the River. The office was closed up so we made up our mind’s to run the risk of the one we had. Then we got our Figures & letters. We then met Capt Perry of Co B, at Williards, who told us we could go on the Train from Alexandria, at 3 PM.

So we concluded to take the 1 oclock Boat, & look around the City a little. We then went to Mr Tafts, at the Patent Office. we then went through there, From there we went to the Smithsonian Institute. There we had a splendid time, I was very sorry that you had not visited there. At 1 PM we took the Boat for Alexandria, & had a very pleasant trip across the River. At 3,15 PM, we took the Cars, & arr at the Mills about 5 PM. We arrived in Camp about 6,45 PM, walking all the way.

Things are all right in Camp. On Monday next, we have got to move our Camp, over by the Mass Battery. You know where we saw the Brass Pieces. The Col, thinks it is healthier down there. In the City today, Capt Perry, told us, that it was reported, that Brig Genl Hays, had Marching Orders for Louisiana & he thought the Brigade would go with him. The Chaplain says there is nothing in this that we have only got to move a short distance.

May 30th 5 AM. I have just had a good nights rest, & feel a little better. Byron & Albert, have got to go on Picket today, The boys are all well, but very tired. We are to be paid off, next Tuesday, so we are in plenty of time. My visit to the City has done me a great deal of good, I am very glad you came down here, both on my account & yours. I met Dr Vosburg in Alexandria, last night, on his way to the City. Mr Millard did not charge me anything for Board, they invited me to come there & stay, when ever I came to the City.

Hoping you will return home all safe, & will soon recover from your Trip. 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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