Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

November 21, 1863

Camp near B Station
Nov 21st 11 AM

Dear Father

When you send me a Newspaper, I wish you would send me a Lead Pencil, as I have used mine nearly up. When you get me another Diary, be sure & get one, like the one I now have, bound well, with a page for each day, The one I now have cost $1,50 I wish you would send it in time for the 1st of January. One of the Boys in our Co, wants you to get him one, the same time you do mine as we can get none here.

Our Brig Genl, is carrying things with a high hand, last night he ordered, 5 Days, Rations dealt out, which with the 6 Days we have on hand, would have made 11 Days, what do you think of that, for a load. Lusk, refused to take the Rations, & went to [Dir] Genl Hays, who [raved] around considerable & said his men, should not carry such Loads. We are on short Rations all the time, as we draw Field Rations, while we are in Camp, which makes a difference.

We have all we can do, to make both ends meet, Just at present we are having it very easy, in Camp as we have no Drilling to do, at all. The 1st, 2nd Grigades, of our Corps, have Conscripts, & have to Drill, nearly all the time. Well our turn, will come some of these days.

Things now look, in the Co, that Lieut Green will be Capt, and if Charlies Cookingham, does not come back a 1st Lient, will be promoted, from some other Co, into ours. The boys all expect this. When this is done I expect, Warren, will be 2nd Lient, & Catlin Orderly. This is the way things look to me now. If a Lieut is Promoted to our Co, from some other, I never will try to do anything. This is Col Macks plan of doing things. If this is not done, then I may get Orderly, nothing more. This may & may not be right. Nothing will be done, until the Co is filled up, at any rate.

I hope you will get the money I sent you & send me a good Watch. I think I made a good Profit, on the other.

This is a miserable kind of a day here, it is raining hard & has been all the morning. Well one thing we have to console us, when it rains, we do not think of advancing. They all talk of Meads, attacking Lee, in his Fortifications, on the Rapidan, but I do not think he will.

Sunday Morning 10 AM. It has cleared up again, after the Rain is now warm & comfortable. It is reported in Camp, this morning, that we march tomorrow, but I hardly think we will. It is the general opinion now in Camp, that our Brig will go home, before the 20th of next month. The Officers all think we shall go. I wish you would send me a few Stamps as I am entirely out.

Monday morning 23d. No move yet, not any sign of it. Send me some, 2 & 3 cent Stamps

Love to all


Hereafter we have got to keep on hand 5 Days Rations & 40 Rounds of Cartridges instead, of 8 & 60

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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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