Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 9, 1863 – Brandy Station

Brandy Station
Nov 9th 7 AM

Dear Father

I suppose you have heard eve this, that the Army of the Potomac, is again, on the advance so of course that means us. We left our Camp, on saturday morning last, & marched too Warrenton Junction, from there to Bealton Station when we halted for Dinner, Genl Meads, Hd Qtrs, was near us. After a short rest, we marched, to the Rhapahanock, half way between, Kellys Ford & Banks Ford. The 3d Corps was in the Advance of us, There we laid all night, When we marched up here, the Artillery was Shelling then Johnies, & the 3 Corps was Skirmishing. Here they took 1300 Prisoners, The 5th & 6th Corps Crossed, at Rhapahanock Station, & took 4 Guns, & 100 Prisoners. That night the Pontoons, were laid in front of us & the 3 Corps Crossed.

Yesterday Morning, at 7 AM we Crossed the River, & laid in Since on top of a hill, While the 1st & 2nd Divisions, of our Corps, threw out Skirmishes, & advanced. Here I saw the most Splendid Sight I have seen during the War, Our Divisions advancing on a Double Quick, Here we found no Rebs So soon Advanced, to the Pike Road, leading to Orange Court House, When we laid a Couple of Hours, for Dinner. All this time the Cavalry were Driving the Johnies, & firing into their Rear.

After a good rest, we marched to Brandy Station, where we Halted for the night. This morning we are Drawing Rations of Pork. the 3d Corps took a few Prisoners, they say, that Lee, is going to make a stand at Culpeper, that is about 6 miles from here. We do not think he will Stand though, this Side of their Fortifications, on the Rapidan. That seems to be the General opinion. We can not tell where we are bound for, some say on to Richmond & others, that we are going to Fredericksburg, that Meads plan is to get possession of the Hights first, if possible. The Chaplain thinks this is his plan. At any rate we shall have a little brush today, between here & Culpepper.

Our Division has been in the Reserve, since, we started, which makes, it easier for us. This march is hard on us, Me especially my feet have troubled me some.

the 8 days Rations, we have to carry, [came] hard on us, we have awful loads to carry, The Boys stand it well however better than I expected. I think we have got fun ahead & some Work. the 1st, 2nd, 3d, 5th & 6th Corps, are here altogether. so [where] we make a strike it will tell. I think now we shall do something, that will tell.

Yesterday, I marched easier, than I did the day before but, felt, far Different, from what I did, 3 weeks from that day at Home. Mr Brown told me he had read a letter, from you & that you said, you had not heard from me, since we left Alexandria, While I laid in Camp, I wrote, nearly every other day, I do not see why you did not get them,

I will write just as often as possible, you know that. I shall try & keep you posted. but I do not want you to stop writing, because we are on the Move, I think more of a Letter now, then ever. Write often.

Tuesday Morning 7 AM. Laid still all day yesterday, going to advance today, towards Culpepper

Manley

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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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