Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 16, 1863

Camp Hayes

June 16th /63

Dear Father

I received two letters from you yesterday one dated the 4th & the other the 11th, in one of which I received some Stamps. You were much mistaken about the Privates, sharing in that Picnic, even I on Duty did not get anything. Nearly every Officer in Camp has Wife here, I have not spoken to Mrs Holmes yet, we see but little of her in the Company.

Things in Camp are moving on the same as usual. We had no Brigade Drill yesterday, for to tell the truth where was no Place to Drill, The Ground is all covered with Troops. The whole of Hookers Army, passed through here yesterday, except the 3d Corps, that with the Cavalry, is Guarding the RR, between here & Warrenton, to get Hookers supplies away, Hooker made his Head Quarters, at Fairfax Court House, yesterday, & today he makes it here.

In regard to Lee, The boys that came in yesterday, said we would have a Fight here before, tonight, but I think not, all the afternoon, we could see heavy clouds of Dust towards Bull Run, I think Lee, will move into Maryland & Hooker will follow him right up. I expect these Troops will leave here today. They look hard, having marched 25 miles a day, coming here.

I found several of my Schoolmates, in the 136th, NY, from Dansville, one Rev, Stephen Brown’s Son, that I was well acquainted with. Another by the name of Tousy, who is in the Signal Corps. Yesterday I saw, Maj Genl Howard & Carl Schurz, today I shall see Genl [S]ickles & most likely Hooker & his Staff. You can look no way from our Camp, without seeing the Ground covered with Troops, It is reported, that Lee has a strong Force, between here & Warrenton. I will write every day, till this is over, though I can not tell whether the letters will reach you

Love to all

Manley

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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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