Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

September 2, 1863

No 3 Elmira
Sep 2nd 63

Dear Father

I suppose you will be looking for me home by this time, & if we had, had, an Officer today, I should have sent my Furlough in today. As it is I do not know when I shall get there. Our Capt went to New York, last night, & will not be back in a day or two. until he gets back, I can not get it through.

I wrote you last Thursday, that I expected to go to New York, Thursday night I was Detailed. We left here on Saturday morning at 5 AM, on the Cincinnatti Exp one hour behind time. We had on board 73 men mostly Substitutes.

We had no trouble going down. Arrived in Jersy City at 5 PM, took the Ferry across, then, marched to the Park, Barracks, then halted a few minutes, then went to Castle Garden, & took the Goot Boat to the Island.

After we started from here, 2 of our men got away. They got Citizens Clothes, some way, went in the Privy, changed their Clothes, dropped down in the River, & swam ashore. This was rough on us, as we were feeling so nice, about not loosing [sic] any men.

We arrived at the Island about 7 PM, & laid on a pile of lumber, till midnight, then went on board the Boat, & I slept till morning. We got back to the City about 7 AM, Went to Courtland St Hotel, left our things & got Breakfast, After Breakfast we went up to the Central Park & walked around until 1 PM, came back to Dinner, then went up to Greenwood Cemetry [sic] in Afternoon, In eve had good sleep.

Monday morning we went to Barnums Museum & on Board the California Steamer Illinois, In afternoon to the Five Points. We left the City yesterday morning at 7 AM & arrived here, after a pleasant trip at 4,20 PM, It is now my turn to have the first Furlough, I shall try very hard, to get it through tomorrow but cant tell anything about when I shall get home

Hoping to see you soon 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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