Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 18, 1863

Camp Hayes Centerville Va
Company Dee 111th Regt NYSV
June 18th /63

My Dear Charles

I send with this letter, two Pictures of Camps both of which we have Camped at. The largest one I send to Maggie & the smallest one to Rosa. The Envelope, Pictures, & this Sheet of Paper, only cost 5cts.

Everything is quiet in Camp today, about 80 Rebs were brought in this morning, mostly Officers, there was one Major General, among them. Our Boys have had some Fighting to do since they left here, as we heard Canonading, all day yesterday, It was reported this morning that we had all of Stuarts Cavalry, this I do not see. This afternoon we can hear Canons plainly, towards the Ferry.

Col Mac returned yesterday but without the Band, I hope however they will come in a few days. It was reported yesterday, that, we were to March, tomorrow, & to follow up Hookers Army. I think we shall stay here long, if we move at all, it will be towards Washington. The 3d Army Corps, still [lays] here, Gen Sickles Corps.

This morning we had Brigade Inspection, it was awful warm, is warm enough to melt a Nigger. I wish you could have been here this week & have seen [what] I have, get up in the morning at Revilee & hear 30 or 40 Bands Playing, I tell you it sounded Splendid. After the Troops left yesterday, I went around with Barney & we got all new Knapsacks that the Boys had thrown away, also six[ ] Shelter Tents, so today Barney & I have been putting an Addition to our Tent, for our special use.

We have just had an awful dust Storm, I never have seen so much dust in my life, We have had no rain here, in a month, & with an Army like this, it has made it awful. Barney came very near being Sun [struck] this morning, he was Detailed to go on Picket & could hardly stand up. he fell out & could hardly come to Camp, we Doctored him up & this afternoon he feels better. I saw Ben Browns Cousin, the other day, he is in the 136th NY, Ben Brown has enlisted in the 12th Heavy Artillery.

I shall send Aunt Sarah, a Picture of our Color Guard. I got these Pictures for 35cts a piece & have sold enough, for 50cts, to pay for mine. In a week or two, we are going to have a Picture Taken, of our Squad & the Tent, I will send you one. Father was talking when here, about Army Expressions, I heard some the other day, A fellow told me he had got a Pretty from home, he meant his Girl[s] Picture. Here is another. Dead, Open Shut, I can not tell what is the meaning of this.

June 19th 7 AM. We had a glorious old Rain last night, so this morning the Air feels better. It is reported that we have taken 1000 Prisoners, yesterday at Warrenton. The Cavalry keep bringing them in here. from here they are sent to Washington. Now I want you to write me a good long letter, with all the News

Manley

——————–

Dear Mother

I do not know what in the world made you think, I did not like to read your letters, I am sure I never said so, but have always said I was very glad to hear from you. I do not want you, to think I am tired of Reading your letters, not by any means.

In regard to my spending so much money, I know that it is hardly right, but this month, shall be the last, I will live more economically, & send more home. I did not know how much I have been drawing, now I know I will do better.

There is some talk, of our Joining the [3d] Corps, & going on with them, I really hope it is so, at any rate we shall soon leave here. I wish you could look in my Tent this morning, & Just see how nice Barney & I have fixed up, it is fixed up splendid

If you want another Picture of Color Guard let me know

Hoping to hear from you soon

With 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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