Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

August 17, 1863

Elmira Barracks No 1
Aug 17th 1863
8 AM

Dear Father

I believe I wrote two letters last week, but read nary one. That is hardly right.

Charlie arrived safe on Saturday night at 11 PM. I was on Guard but, I took time to get to the Depot to meet him. I brought him to the Barracks, & after some persuasion got him to bed, though he wanted to stay up all night with me. I did not get relieved early enough to go to Church in the morning, but went last night to the 1st Church. Charlie says he will be Home on Saturday, of nothing happens.

Things look very promising, for our speedy return to the Regt, all the Conscripts we had here, were sent off, saturday night. The Officer of the Day, said this morning, that we should stay here two months yet & I am thinking a little of going to Walkers this week for a Day.

If nothing happens, I should get Home some time next week, that is if nothing happens. Two of our Boys go home this week, then I shall go. Tell Mother I want a Red Silk [Hakf], to take back with me. Charlie tells me, that mother, could not get me any Pants stuff in the City. I am sorry.

I am getting sick & tired of this Town. it is the Dullest place I ever was in. It is pleasanter however, than Warrenton Junction.

I shall hope to hear from you this week

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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