Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 11, 1863

Camp Hayes
June 11th /63

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 6th, last night. Last night we got the first mail, since Sunday, owing to some mistake made in Washington. Our New Major came last night, though I suppose he will not report for duty yet. It is reported, that he is to bring 200 men, for his Commission, if he does, it will nearly fill up the Regt.

Day before yesterday I went out to another Picnic, & had a very good time. There is no extra news in Camp today, I hope you have received the money I sent you, all right. Yesterday I go me a map of Eastern Virginia, it has every little place & Run, & is just what I have wanted, for a long time. Last night I went to a Funeral of one, of the 9 Mass Battery Boys. It was very solemn, The Coffin was carried on a Cassion to a Gun, & was covered with a Flag, The Cassion drawn by 6 Grey Horses. the Band Played a March, the Chaplain, made a few remarks, & then a Salute over his grave. It was the most solemn thing I have seen in a long time, Genl Hayes & Staff were all out.

Everything is quiet in Camp this morning, Barney & Al, go on Camp Guard & Aleck on Picket. Williams says he thought the Bread would dry up, & we would not want it so he gave it away. I got my watch from Alexandria, this morning, it cost me $1,7[5] to get fixed up.

Love to all




You want to know why I did not send for you, to come down here. It is not, that I do not want to see you, I told Father several times If we ever laid where you could come convenient I should send for you. You said you left to Gard x Guard, you are no Military Man, to spell it that way. Why didn’t you send to me for some Money, to buy that watch & done with it. If I can spare any I will do it. I think you had better manage to write me once a week, or down goes your Cook House


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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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