Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 3 & 4, 1863

Camp near B Station
Dec 3d 1863

Dear Father

We are feeling rather Sad, tonight in our Co, Barney Francisco1, Contant2, from Marion, & Box3 from Sodus have been all taken Prisoners, It seems, that our Brigade, Skirmishes, were not relieved, the night we fell back, The others, were relieved at 3 AM, the next morning, but through some Carelessness, ours were not relieved, 127 men, were taken out of our Brig, & 30 out of our Regt. So now we can calcualte Barney is in Richmond.

Dec 4th.  This morning we got our back Mail, I read two letters from you & several Papers, with T enclosed, which I was very glad to get, especially the Green T.

This morning is it reported that Lee, has crossed the Rapidan, in two places, & is coming down to see us. We have just got Orders, to pack up everything, & be ready to move at a moments notice. Now for a general Sekdaddle, to Washington. It is also reported that Joe Hooker, had Comand of the Army again. If this is so, we may be kept pretty busy this winter. You may be sure we are living anything, but Comfortable, All the Rations we Draw, is Hd Tack, Coffee & Sugar & Beef, we have had no Pork in over a week.

One thing I forgot, to write in my last, that was our Piling up our Knapsacks, the day we expected to Charge, I tell you it was a solemn time, one I will never forget. Not a man, expected, to come back all right, especially after we saw, what we had got to do. If Hooker has got Comand, there is no Winter Quarters for us.

I hope you will send My Watch as soon as Possible, I need it every day. I think you could send it by Mail, by wraping it up well & sending it in a little Box.

I do not think Belles, is under Arrest, I know he is doing duty all the time & he would not if he was. I have drawn a pr of Gun Locks, & shall wear then until I get those from Home. I think I gave you a pretty good Account, of our late Advance & Glorious Retreat. There is no doubt, of our Boys being taken Prisoners. Poor Boys I pity them. I shall write to Francisco today. I will write to Mother in my next, no time now. I am very glad to get the Papers, I will write as often as possible, do the same.

Our mail leaves here at 4 PM, I do not see why you do not hear from me oftener & sooner

2 PM. No signs of moving yet today but think we soon shall

My Love to all


1Francisco, Byron–age,19 7 Aug 1862 at Lyons to serve three years. Captured in action, 1 Dec 1863, at Mine Run, VA.; paroled, no date; mustered out, 7 Jul 1865, at Elmira, NY.
2Contant, Adrian–age,19. Enlisted 11 Aug 1862 at Marion. Captured while on picket 1 Dec 1863, at Mine Run, VA.; released 24 Feb 1865, at Aikins Landing, Va; mustered out, 2 Aug 1865, at Rochester, NY.
3Box, George–age,19. Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Sodus. Captured while on picket, 1 Dec 1863 at Mine Run, VA; died, no date, while a prisoner of war.
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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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