Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 7 & 8, 1863

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Camp Hayes
June 7th /63
10,30 AM

Charles Henry Augustus Stacey
My Ancient Friend


I now take my Pencil in hand, to let you know that I am well & hope these few lines will find you, enjoying the same earthly blessing. My Daughter is well & so is the Powltry. Sir we are having a spell of weather here now, which may or may not last.

I am laboring under a Di, fic, il, ty, whether to write you a letter, or to sleep, probably the Former. Which will be Continued if my Cigar does not go out.

Sir De Question of de Times, am, yes de subject of de Times am, When de Pilgrim Humans, first Landed in America, what did dey do, Yes My Fellow Prisoners what did they do, answer in the next weeks Ledger.

Now to renew the Subject. I am feeling tip top today, instead of Drilling in the Company this morning, I took the respoinsibility of Drilling Ben Finch, one of our men who deserted at the Ferry & has just returned.

I am Officer of the Day, in our Tent, today, so run things. In regards to things in Camp, & our Position, we are on the left of the Regt, & the left of the Co, right back of our Tent is the Stables, where we have some 10 or 12 mules, who favor us with a Serenade, every night, I tell you it is delightful to be awakened, from a sound sleep, by such delightful Music. One of them in particular, has a fine ear for Music.

5 PM. I have just come in from Battallion Drill, Harvey & I have made $2,00 a piece today. We bought a new Watch, for $14,00, & this afternoon sold it for $18,00.

Yesterday I broke the Main Spring to my Watch, & so you see, I have made enough today to get it fixed. Things are looking here now as if we might have a little brush here, but we may not have that pleasure.

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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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