Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

July 9, 1863 – near Frederick, Md

Camp near Frederick City Md
July 9th 5 AM

Dear Father

We left Tany Town yesterday moring at 6,30 AM & of all the Marching I have ever done, this was the worst. It had rained nearly all night, & was just pouring down, when we were Ordered to Strike Tents & be ready to move at 3 AM. The Mud was about 5 or 6 inches deep, some places thick & others thin & We marched through the Rain, until 2 PM, when we got along a little better. We arrived at the Camp, 5 miles from Frederick, at 8 PM pretty nearly exhausted.

Yesterday on the March one of the 125th. picked up a Revolver, & commenced fooling with it, & Shot one of his own men through the Head, killing him instantly. It was an awful sight.

Well we are at Frederick again, & are again Ordered to March, no one knows where. Some think we are going up to Antietim [sic], At any rate we have got some more marching to do. I am tired out this morning & would give anything for a Rest & I would like to be at Home, & get Mother to Bake me some Cakes. Well I must close as we are Ordered to strike Tents

My 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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