Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

August 27, 1863

Barracks No 3 Elmira
Aug 27th 1863
10 AM

Dear Father

I know you will be disappointed in not seeing me Home today. but I am not to blame. After this I will not write when I expect to come Home, then there will be no trouble.

Yesterday afternoon we were ordered to move over to No 3 Barracks, & take our Conscripts over. We got fixed up here last night. We are now about a mile & a half South west of the Depot, On Monday next we are to be Mustered, So no Furloughs will be granted, to run over that time, as all are to be here to Muster. I could get a Furlough, from now till saturday, but that will not do me. They will grant Furloughs again next tuesday, So I calculate now to get off on tuesday, if nothing happens. I am very sorry but of course can not help it.

I shall be at Home, the last Sunday, of Fathers time at Lyons, in time to hear that Farewell Sermon. I expect to go to New York, tonight or tomorrow night Which will be much better than Laying in this Camp. This Barracks is an awful Hole, Miserable Rations I cant eat them.

We have got now about 300 Conscripts here. I have had some liberal offers this week if I would let them go. We had Orders the other night on Guard, to take all Money that was offered to us, & then shoot them if they undertook to run. That I call willful Murder & wont do it. Money wont [hire] me, to let one of those Gentlemen go. A fellow came up to me the other night & showed me $150, & told me to take it & let him go, I could not see it.

If I go to New York I shall call on Barnum, & go through the Museum. I got a letter from [J..] Voak, yesterday, he wants me to come to Pen Yan, & he will meet me there

Hoping to hear from you soon, with 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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