Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

August 8, 1863 – Elmira, NY

Elmira Barracks No 1, Aug 8
7,30 AM

Dear Father

I suppose you read the letter, I wrote, last week & if you had not heard it before, were a little surprised, to find I was in the State. We are having very easy times here now, not much Duty to do, once in a while a little Guard & Patrol at night. Yesterday morning I attended the 1st M E Church, & last night the 2nd. Where Mr Herman Preaches. It seemed good to go to Church again.

If nothing happens now, I expect to be in Geneva Wednesday Noon, & would like to have Charlie meet me there. We expect the Boys back today, that went Home on Thursday. I shall try & get my pass tomorow afternoon, Dated on Wednesday, & run down to Watkins & stay over night, Then take the morning Boat for Geneva. I should like to go down on Capt [Deys] Boat, but can not arrange, so as to do it. You may be sure I am counting the Days, I have never seen longer ones. If Charlie will meet me at the Steamboat Landing, Wednesday morning, I can get Home much cheaper

Hoping to see you soon


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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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