Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

July 25, 1863 – Camp near White Plains

Camp near White Plains Va
July 25th 7,30 PM

Dear Father

When I wrote you last, we were expecting to have a little Fight with the Rebels at the Gap, until Yesterday noon, when we marched back, to where we started from, the night before. It turned out from some Prisoners we took, that one Brigade, was all the Force, they had at the Gap. The rest of his Force, had been passing for 3 Days. We had, but few men Wounded in the Skirmish, when our Forces drove them from the Gap. This morning at 5 AM, we Broke Camp, & marched, here, arriving here, at 4 PM. We are now near Thorofare Gap,

Tomorrow we march to Warrenton, when I think if we go Home at all we shall go, from there. I very much Doubt, however, whether we go at all. It is 13 miles, from here to Warrenton, which we can easy march. We drew 3 Days Rations, tonight, which makes the Boys feel a great deal better.  If we do not go Home, & we lay at any Camp, I shall have to send for a few Days

Camp near Warrenton Junction.  July 27th 1863 5,30 AM. We left White Plains, yesterday morning, at 5,30, & marched 13 miles to Warrenton, arriving there at noon. Talk about marching, this was the Hardest we ever had, we rested once in that time, for 10 minutes. the rest of the time, we had to keep Marching as fast as we could walk. They told us, when we arrived at Warrenton, we should Camp there, But instead of that we only staid one hour (&) was then Ordered to the Junction, 9 miles.

This part of the marching the Roads were Bully, but oh, how hot it was. They marched us at most on a Run, every step almost, the Boys would fall down Sun Struck. we lost 6 men, from Warrenton here, out of the Brigade, & more will Die. I tell you it looked hard. Jefre Cooley, came very near being Sun Struck. I put some Water on his head & brought him too [sic]. For my part, I keep my Head wet all the time, this I know helps, on such marches.

We have now Camped one mile, from Warrenton Junction. I think we shall lay here today, Draw Rations &c. If we go Home at all, it will be from here, but I am afraid it is played out. We think here, that we shall march, to [Falmouth] then cross to Fredericksburg, where we will take Possession of the Hights. Then Lee must Fight or keep [away] from Richmond. We are a hard looking [set] here, this morning, all completely worn out. Warrenton is the prettyest little Place I have been in, since I left Home. It is a splendid little place. We are working now towards Centreville, I would not care, if they were there to stay.

We hope to get our Mail today, which will make us all feel good

I will write as soon & 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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