Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

September 28, 1863

Barracks No 3
Elmira Sep 28th
2 PM

Dear Father

I have just read your letter of the 25th, with $2,00 Enclosed which came good, The Paymaster comes tomorrow, but I can not tell whether we shall get out pay, or not, It is reported that we shall not get our pay, unless we have our Descriptive lists, & that I have not got. I can not tell however, but shall soon know.

Things are moving along about the same as usual, in Camp, only we have to Drill, 2 hours a day, All the Old Detachmants, are Organized into Companies with Officers in charge. I have got done Volunteering to go to the City, as I see you do not like it, I shall only go when I am Detailed.

Things look now like staying here, a long time, it looks but little like leaving. I shall try & get a 3 Day pass & come home the last of this week or the first of next. It will be quite a while before my turn will come again for a Furlough, but if we stay I shall get another.

I will write as often as possible. I can write no more, most Drill Time

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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