Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

December 6, 1863 – Stevensburg, Va

Camp in Stevensburg Va
Dec 6th 63

Dear Father

It is awful Cold today, but I thought I would try & write you a few lines. Yesterday morning at 4 AM we were called up & Ordered to be ready to move at 7 AM, At 7, we marched, South west about 3 miles to a place called Stevensburg, where the Cavalry had a Fight, a week or two ago, Here after some trouble, finding ground we went into Camp, Our Regt lays on a nole, right where the wind has a full sweep at us. We have to go 3/4 of a mile for Wood, which we do not like. I think we shall go down to Brandy Station, where there is more Wood.

It was Reported here yesterday that our Regt, was going there to Guard the Comissary, we are now, about 2 1/2 miles South of B Station, 5 miles East of Culpeper, & about 8 East of Pony Mountain, We can plainly see the Church Steeples in Culpeper.

This is an awful cold Sunday, we have to lay in bed, to keep from freezing. I think now we shall soon go into Winter Quarters, near here. This place, used to be a Splendid little Town, but now is Sadly Changed. The Inhabitants say they have nothing to sell to Yankees, so of course we take it.

Going Home to Recruit seems to be played out, we hear nothing of it. Nothing has been heard from our Boys, there is no Doubt, that they were taken Prisoners. I wrote to Francisco yesterday.

This I suppose is Charles Birth Day, tell him I thought of him while eating my Breakfast, of Hard Tack & Coffee,

I suppose you have seen the account in the Papers of our Campaign. The Herald does not give Warren the Credit he Deserves, When Mead, sent him an Order for him to Charge the Works his answer was, I can do it, but there will be no 2nd Corps Left, That shows the Mans prudence, in not sacrificing his men. We like Warren, Old Hays told Warren, he could take the old 3d Brigade & take [the] Works.

There is but little news in Camp, today. Yesterday we drew Soft Bread & Whiskey. This seems but little like Sunday to us here, not more then half know it is.

Hoping soon to get that Watch

I remain with Love to all

I sent 2 letters from Mrs Stout

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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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