Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 14, 1863

Barracks No 3
Elmira Oct 14th

Dear Father

Since I wrote you last, there has been some changes here. Yesterday morning I got an Order from the General, stating that I was relieved from Duty at these Barracks, & would immediately report at my Regt, for Duty. The Order said, that I should go yesterday, with a Squad, that was going to Washington. As they did not go, I am still here. When I shall go I can not tell now. The General recd orders yesterday not to send any men to the Army of the Potomac, just at present as they are expecting a [muss]. This order was completely unexpected, to me, nor do I know any reason for it. I shall get a sepperate [sic] Transportation & go when I please. I shall come Home for a day or two, you can depend upon it. There are some things, that I must take back including those Watches. I shall get my Transportation, so can go when I choose on it.

This gives me but a very little, as I am quite ready to go. Two thirds of the men here are going back the last of this month any way, I shall take my time, going back, you may be sure, for no one knows, where I shall find the Regt.

There is nothing of importance going on in the Camp

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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