Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

Letter from S.R. [Gr…] to Stacey’s Parents [?]

Lyons Dec 31, 1863.

My esteemed friends:

Yours containing the sad intelligence of Manley’s death was duly rec’d. The first I had heard of the facts. I have just learned by way of Cap Holme’s wife in regards to the cause. This renders the melancholy news more painful.

I have seen Mr [Davis] who says that the church shall be in readiness at the appointed time. I have also been to the Cemetery and selected a Lot – the one Saml J. [Gold] had taken. but will not use in consequence of burying upon his [farm]. The price will probably be about $20. I [ ] Mr [P..hall] and waited [some] time to have him fix the exact amount, but he has just called upon me and says that he cannot tell me now the exact time it was taken up by Mr Gold and hence cannot [compute] the exact amount. The price will be $14 and interest [thirteen] June the time it was taken by Mr Gold. I think it was almost 4 year since.

My delay in writing was in Consequence of waiting to see Mr Gold to ascertain if he would [ ] it up. This he readily did. The good lots are now very scarce. This one I like the best of all remaining under[ ] of, lies near Mr Lyons on one of our main ways. I have also [ ] will attend to all the funeral arrangements as you desired from the church in due time. It is [hope…] that by a previous engagement I may be away on that day on a visit to my mother [and] cannot return until Monday if I go. If this should happen I will have some suitable person attend to the arrangements on that day. Be assured that all will be seen to. I have just seen Mr Holly of []ainville to whom you had written, he will endeavor to be here

Oh my dear friend what a trial! How often have I heard you speak of him with such parental regard and solicitude. One more leaf to be added to this wanton and wicked rebellion – and what a sad one to you. Our youth go forth in vigor and buoyancy at their Country’s Call amid the glare and [ ] of the excited multitude. Many very many of them alas never to return only as lifeless forms. My heart is filled with sadness as almost daily I hear of some noble hearted Soldier friend has fallen. It is useless for me to attempt word of consolation. I too have lost a dear child. before that time I imagined I could sympathize with that similarly afflicted, but I then knew nothing. No one can until they are called upon to pass thro’ the Dread ordeal – Human aid and sympathy in such an hour is indeed weak and to be highly prized. but they wait not. there is but an ounce of Consolation – I will not suggest it were. You my friend know by experience upon whom to rely in this sad hour. May the good Father look in tenderness and pity upon you and yours.

Truly as ever

S.R. [Gr…]

Come by way of the [..lleway] roads passed the Depot and some of us will meet you. We understand the funeral to be at 1 1/2 oclock unless we hear from you to the contrary.

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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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