Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

July 15?, 1863 – near Boonston, Md

Line of Battle, near Boonston Ma
July 11,15AM

Dear Father

I received your letter of the 4th yesterday noon, while we were Halted for Dinner. You may be sure I was glad to get it, for I had not heard from Home, in over two weeks. I was pretty sure you would be in a great deal of trouble about us, so I wrote often.

We are now about, into another Fight, that is if the Rebs make a stand here, which I think they will do. After we Marched out on the Ferry Road, & turned off at Jefferson, for Sharpsburg, We now lay but a few miles from there. Yesterday there was Fighting here, the Rebs occupied the Ground in the Morning, & our Boys, drove then, over 3 miles. Yesterday we passed Maj Genl French, the Boys Cheered him well, when they knew who it was. We are about 2 miles from the River & about 6 miles from Williamsport, I think Lee will keep moving up this side, the River & we keep following him up, he will then watch his opportunity to Cross the River.

We are now in the Reserve, though some times the Reserve gets the Most Fighting to do, the 1st 11th & 12th Corps are all ahead of us, so we may see but little Fighting after all. Yesterday I was completely worn out, so I could scarcely walk, but I managed to stick it through til night. I was pretty nearly played out, this morning I am feeling a little better, & think I can stand it through today.

We have Orders to march at 6 AM. We have got 1 Sergt, 5 Corpls, & 7 Privates with us the smallest Co, in the Regt. Barney & Aleck stick it through, & are all right yet. I think, we shall go up as far as Williamsport today if no farther.

Our Regt is now Comanded by Capt of Co A Seeley, if he is Wounded, it will be comanded, by Lieut of some Co, God knows I hope it will not be. Our Brigade is comanded by Lieut Col [Bule] of 126th, I dread to go in Battle under him, he gets so excited, that he hardly knows what to do.

We now draw Rations regularly & are living better. Within this past week I have seen some awful sights, some that I never want to see again. Men wounded in every shape. I hardly think I shall get home in August, unless I get Wounded. I will write as often as possible

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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