Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

August 12, 1863

Barracks. No 1. Elmira. N.Y
Aug 12th 8 AM

Dear Father

After a very warm ride, we arrived in Genoa at 2,45 PM, Just 30 minutes before the Boat left. That Time is 3,15 PM. Just before we got there, the Boys made up their minds, to put out the Horse, & get Passes up & down the Lake & so take a trip with me. Of course I had no objection, as it would cost them nothing. We had a very pleasant Trip up the Lake, though it rained pretty hard, Just before we landed. I called on Grandma, but did not get Supper, as I did not feel Hungry. I left W, at 9,58, & am here, at 10,58. It took but a short time to get to the Barraacks.

With Regard to the Conscripts, we have 11 here altogether, Just what we had when I left.  this morning Rice, the Young man, I thought, had left the Day after me, is going Home, Through, that Fellow, of ours that went Home, & got a Dr’s Certificate, on a Boil, only one of our Detachment, can be gone at a time. This will make my chances poorer for coming Home. at any rate, it will take longer. Capt Seeley Dont seem to take any interest in the Boys, he dont seem to care whether they go or not, other Detachments have got 3 men Home, but we can only have one.

It is reported here that the Major of the 98th NYV, is to take comand of our Barracks here, if so we may have different arrangements. Things are quiet in the Village, but little going on except, examining Conscripts. If I do not succeed in getting another Furlough, I shall to see You & Mother here. [sic] Mother said she did not expect to come up here, but there is no such thing as that. You have Friends enough, so you can come up & stay. I will write often, & keep you posted

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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