Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

May 31, 1863

Camp Hayes
May 31st 5,30 PM

Dear Father

Well I have settled down to duty again, & am feeling much better than before the Trip. If it has done you so much good as it did me, I am sure, there was no money wasted.

I wrote you yesterday, that we were to move, our Camp, on Monday, Things look now as if we should remain here. Both Officers & Men’s Quarters are fixed up comfortable, & no one, desires to do the work over again. We shall know however tomorrow. I think we shall get our Pay this week, when I will send you home $10,00 at least.

Yesterday afternoon some Rebels were seen outside our Lines, both on the Warrenton Road, & at Bull Run. They Fired into a Train, about 4 miles above, Union Mills & Burned up some 20 Cars at Manassas Junction. Genl Hays, thinking they might come this way, ordered out the whole Brigade, last night, midnight, So we marched up to the Breast Works & laid there until Day Light this morning. We had Co Inspection, this morning instead of Regimental. It is a wonder that we did not have the regular Inspection.

There is nothing new in Camp, today, everything quiet.

When we returned from Washington, half of our things were gone, Williams had Drawn our Bread & sold it. My Papers had all been opened & everything scattered around. If we ever change our Camp, he will not be in the Squad, with me, Almost all of the Officers, have got their Wifes here now. I have not spoken to Mrs Holmes yet, nor am I in any hurry too.

June 1st 5,30 AM. Just had a pretty good night to rest, & am feeling tip top. I shall hope to hear from you soon. when you get a chance to send anything, send me a box of Blister Ointment. I heard the other day that by putting, some of this Ointment, on the Face, & let it raise a Blister, & let it dry off, it would make the Face a great deal smoother,

Write 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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