Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 10, 1863

Camp 4 miles from B Station
Nov 10th 3,30 PM

Dear Father

We left Camp at Brandy Station, at 7 AM & marched, to our present Camp, all I can tell you of the locality of the place is, that it is, 4 miles east of Brandy Station. Near a place called, Pepper Mills, We arrived here this morning at 10 AM, & was ordered to pitch Tents, as we were going to Camp here. How long we shall stay here I can not tell, nor why we came here.

It is a wonder to me, that we do not advance. We have got now 5 Days Rations. I think we shall stay here, until the RR, is opened, through to Brandy Station, so that we can get supplies, & then advance. I should not be surprised, if we got Paid off before we leave here. Our Boys seem to expect, a rough time, on this Campaign, & I think they will not be disapointed.

When we started off this morning, I thought certain we were going to Fredericksburg as we were on the Road. But here, we never know where we are going, or what we are going to do. I think from all I can hear, that Lee, has fallen back across the Rapidan, to his Fortifications. If this is so, I do not think we will advance on him. But what is the use of my writing this to you, you will read it before you get this.

We have got a Bully place to Camp, in a piece of Woods. You had ought, to have seen the Rail Fences, come down, when we Halted, this morning. We called on an old Secesh & took everything we could lay our Hands on, made ourselves free, Dug up his Turnips, & took the Cabbage. that is my style for such men, is to take every thing they have got, even to Shin Buttons, if necessary.

We hope to get the Mail, tonight, when I shall expect a letter from you. I hope you have recd all my Letters, so that you know my whereabouts. the Country around here is a great deal Better, than, around Centerville, Most of the Fences are Standing, But for all that things are run down. No men are to be seen, at the Houses nothing seems to be going on. All is quiet. There is no Cattle around nor Hogs, what there is left must not run across a Soldiers path.

I am very sorry I can not send Home, any money, this Pay Day. But as it is, I have but little coming. The Rebs raised the [Du..] with the Rail Road Track, between here & Warrenton Junction heating the Rails & bending them up.

Is is getting to be quite Chilly here now & very cold nights. But never mind this is the last Winter in the Service

Write often
My Love to all

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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