Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 3, 1863 – Near Union Mills

Camp I don’t know What, near Union Mills
June 3d /63
9,30 AM

I suppose you will be rather anxious to hear where we are & what we are doing, so here goes.

We left Camp Pomeroy yesterday at 10 AM, & marched to Alexandria, & then took the Cars, on the Alexandria Military RR. There we laid in the Cars until about 7 PM, waiting for we know not what. We ran very slow all the way, & could see wrecks of Cars, all along the Road, the works of our Friends, the Rebels. When we arrived here, we formed in line, & then marched about a mile west towards where the 126th, NY, is encamped. Then we Stacked our Arms, [unstrung] Knapsacks, & prepared for a Nights Rest in the open Air. We slept very well until 7, this morning. We managed to live very well, with the nice things in the Trunk.

I will tell you how we managed to get the Trunk carried, the night before we left, we sent a nice Turkey & a Frosted Cake to the Colonel, with a note, telling who it was from. I will send you the note I got in reply. The Colonel came around to the Officers Quarters & told the Capt, to have the boys, pack up their things & mark them plain, with Co & Regt & he would see that they were Carried. So we went to work & packed the best Trunk full, & marked it, & it was brought with us. We had a high old time the night before we left, I wish you could have seen us. The other Trunk I lent to one of the boys to bring his things in.

I got a Letter yesterday from John Voak, in answer to one I wrote, I will send it.

We are now about 2 miles north east of the Famouos Bull Run Battle Field, I shall most certainly, go up there as soon as possible. The 126th Boys, say you can see the Bones laying all around there, & some have found Guns & Pistols. I shall look pretty Sharp for these. I can not tell how stong Force there is around here, not very I think. This is getting right into the Enemys Country, I do not think there will be any great engagement, though we may have a little Skirmishing. Our Duty here will be mostly Picket, both on the RR, & Camp Picket.

Now I have a little Question to ask you. have you any objection to my being a Corporal fo the Color Guard. But first I will explain the Duty. Every Color Bearer, has 8 Corporals, for his Guard, their Duty to protect him, only to fire in his defense, & the moment he is Wounded to sieze the Colors, & carry them. I think I could get the State Banner, to carry If I wanted to. I have been Color Guard twice now, but will not go into it for good until I hear from you. The Color Sergt calls me his right hand Man. I know this is rather a Dangerous position, but then it has its advantages, When I was regular detailed, I should have no Extra or Picket Duty. This would be a great deal. But then It shall be as you Say.

It is played out this fixing up Quarters every two weeks, I have done it for the Last time. Our old [Thing] of Colonel, Segoine (it is reported) had Resigned, Dont we hope it is so. It is reported here that Burnside is going to make this place his Head Quarters. I hope this is not so.

Barney & I packed up a Box to send home, in that I sent a few Things, among then was my Diary, I do not know when we shall get a chance to send it. I have not resigned my position yet, nor will I until I hear what you think of Color Guard. I was disappointed in not getting a letter from home last night. I do not know where we shall camp yet, probably not far from where we now are. I wish you would let me know when this war is settled, & how it is settled. I am rather anxious to hear how the Donation went off, & how much you realised.

Hoping to hear from you soon. Love to all


Direct my Letters to Washington DC
The QM, is inquiring around, who wrote that Letter, if he finds out I shall be Court Marshialed & Reduced


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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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