Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

October 30, 1863

Camp near Warrenton
Oct 30th 1863

Dear Father

I have but little to write, today, but knowing you will be anxious to hear, I will write a few lines. there is nothing going on in Camp, the Officers are making out the Muster Rolls, We had Brigade Drill this morning, but as a general thing, the boys Drill but little now.

We now have to keep 8 Days Rations on hand, 5 of theses we have to carry in our Knapsacks. The Boys have got, a Pack Horse, now so they get all their things carried, such as Blankets &c.

I am to act as Sergt, right along, the same as usual, so the Lieut said this morning. The boys were all glad to see me back, and now it seems good to be with them. The Report has been in Camp, that, our Regt was to be sent to the Rear, to recruit up. I can’t see it. A Lieut told me, the other day in Alexandria, that in less than 3 months our Regt, would be consolidated, into 4 Co’s. I don’t believe this however, We shall get some men.

My clothing bill this year, is $60,00 this will take a good pile out of my Pay. It will be taken out this pay day.

Tell Mr Brown, that I delivered, the Boots to his boy all right. He is well & looking well, The Boots are just what he wanted. The boys are all feeling well, but looking hard. Just as I did when I came Home. We are about 4 miles from Bristoro Station & the Battle Ground.

I think Mother did do well, better than any time before. Our Regt has not got a man, nor is there any prospect, of any, this Winter. Just as soon as anything turns up I will write. I shall be very glad to get the Rochester Papers, anything to read.

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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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