Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 20, 1863

Camp Hayes
June 20th /63

Dear Father

Yesterday afternoon, the last of the 8th Corps left Centerville, towards Warrenton, where they go I can not tell. All day yesterday we heard Canonading, over at Aldie, It was reported that we were Fighting there. Last night the 2nd Corps, comanded by Genl Hancock came in & Camped for the night. They say that they came to Relieve us & that we go back to Arlington Hights. It has been a Camp Rumor, for a week or two past, that we go to Arlington Hights, to support, the Forts there. I heard some Officers talking yesterday, & they said our Corps, (the 22d) was the Reserve, for Hookers Army, & that the whole Corps would be stationed near Alexandria so in case of trouble, Hooker will fall back on us.

In my Opinion, there is going to be a Fight right here, everything looks like it, Contrabands, that come in, Report that Lee has a strong Force, at Manassas Gap, only 7 miles from here, of so he may come down on us, one of these fine Days. It has long been a Camp report that for some reason or other, we were exchanged, to do Guard Duty & not go Beyond the Defense of Washington, namely, over Bull Run Creek, I have heard Officers say this.

After the 3d Corps left yesterday, I picked up two Blankets, such as would be worth $5,00 a pair, at Home. I could get some splendid Blankets while at that, But I can not. Today we have strict Orders, for not a man to go outside the Camp Guard, this is the General Order. This looks as if something was up, The 108th NY, lays near us, I want to go over there, as I know some of those Boys, well I can go tomorrow.

Harvey is having a serious time with his leg, yesterday he had, to have his leg cut again, it will be some time, before it heals up, all the rest are well.

Hoping to hear from you soon, love to all

Kiss Maggie for me


(ed’s note: upside down in the top margin)
Take care of these letters for me MTS

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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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