Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

June 24, 1863

Camp Hayes
June 24th

Dear Father

Again we got marching orders, for the Front, as we think this time. Yesterday at noon the whole Brigade had Orders, to be ready to move, at short [notice] with 10 Days Rations, 3 in Haversacks & 7 in Wagons, so last night we had our 3 Days Rations in Haversacks & had Knapsacks packed. There is a thousand & one Rumors, about where, we are going too, some say to the Peninsula , to join Hooker [&] everything else. In talking with Chap Brown last night, he says we shall most, likely see Active Service now. As yest we have not got Orders to move, but to be ready to move, at any moment.

I sent home 2 Wollen Blankets, yesterday, by a Mr Williamson, who was visiting here. If the US Mark is on them tell Charlie, to mark it over with Paint. These Blankets, I picked up, the 3d Army Corps, threw them away. I should have sent home more things, if I had, had the Time, If Jimmy Larue gets his Furlough, I will send, some by him. If we march I shall cut down what I can to a very small [compass] All I shall carry, will be a Rubber Blanket, 2 shirts, Collars (though I do not know how far) Tactics & a few little [Traps]. I shall not even carry a Wollen [sic] Blanket.

Barney & Albert, are going on Picket this morning. All the rest are well. I was a little disappointed, last night in not getting a letter from you, I shall expect one tonight. When we move from here, it is good bye, to White Gloves, then we will be Real Soldiers, not make believe.

There is no news in Camp, this morning, everything is quiet. Yesterday the Colonel [paid] some Farmers, outside the Lines, & brought in some Lambs, & a great many Chicken, they all came in Loaded

I will write as soon as we move




(second letter)

Camp Hayes
June 24th 63
8,45 PM

Dear Father

Well we are in for it now, today we got orders to join the 2nd Corps (Genl Hancock) at Thorofare Gap, as soon as practicable Which means immediately. Most likely we shall go tomorrow. Today we finished, drawing our Rations & now we are all packed up ready to move. I have cut, down my things, today, that I am going to carry, just as much as possible. I shall carry the Rubber Blanket my overcoat, & half a Shelter Tent. As soon as my Things get heavy, away they go, I shall not kill myself, If I can not carry, two Shirts, one will go. The Old Troops, say carry nothing. We are to report at Thorofare Gap, where the Battle was Fought last Sunday. There is one thing the 2nd Corps, Genl Hancocks, is the Favorite, of Genl Halleck,

Now Good Bye Furlough, in August.

Harvey, has Turned in his Things, tonight, & is going to Washington, he is not able, to march. All the Supplies Property is to be turned over to the Quartermasters, to be stored.

The 3 Division, of the 6th Corps came in here, this afternoon, I think they will relieve us here, Tonight there is a great deal of excitiement again. Now we shall, see something of a Soldiers life, If you visit us in about 3 months, you will see different looking lot men.

June 25th 5,15 AM. Last night I found some Boys I knew, in the 122d, NY, that came from Syracuse. The Ladies have got to leave, today Mrs Holmes, starts at 11 AM. It will be a disappointment, for some of them, for as Mrs Holmes said, they expected, to stay all summer. We have got but 2 Sergts, in the Co now, for Duty, So I am going to act, as Sergt, for a few weeks, until one is appointed.

Now I shall be glad to hear from Home as often as possible & in return, I will write you everything, of importance. This will Blockade my Furlough & will fix me for my Time, but never mind that. I can not tell whether we shall move today or not, I think yes. Jimmy Larue, feels very bad at the Loss of his Father. I am glad to hear so good an account of Charley & Rosa

I will write often

Love to all


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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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