Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 2, 1863

Camp, Well I don’t know what
Near Centerville Va

Dear Father

This has been a day of excitement, this morning at 7, we received Orders, to be ready to move, at 8 AM, with Knapsacks & Haversacks, At 8 we fell out, & Stacked our Arms, then Struck our Tents, pulled down our Lumber, preparatory to removing our Camp.

We are now, near the Stone Mill Road, back of the 9th Mass Battery. The Camp will do very well, but it does not commence with our old one. But the worse is to come, We have changed our Position in Camp, We now are in Co B’s place, on the left of the Regiment. This is the worst place in the Regt, it is the hardest on the march, & is a very undesirable position. The reason why we changed, is this, Capt of Co A, is 1st Senior Capt, so he has the right, Capt Holmes, is 2nd Sen, Capt, so he has the left & so on. As soon as Capt Seely of Co A is promoted then we take the Right. It will take us some time to learn our new places,

The Paymaster arrived today, so I think we will get our Pay, tomorrow or next day. So you see, where we have some trouble, we have some pay to counterbalance it.

did you hear while here, that Granger, was to be Court Martialed. He is, for giving the Countersign, to Dreyer & others,

Jun 3d 5,15 AM. We have had a nice Shower during the night, the Air is cool now & pleasant. They sign the Pay Roll today, so tomorrow for the Money. I shall hope to hear from you soon, Will write as soon as anything turns up.

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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