Manley Stacey Civil War Letters

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

About this project

Several years ago, the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest received a donation of materials and documents from the Hulbert family who had settled in Oak Park in the 1800s.

The Stacey Family was related to the Hulberts. (More historical research will be done as this project continues.)

Included in the Hulbert collection is a series of over 200 letters, written between August 13, 1862 and December 17, 1863, by Manley Stacey, a Union soldier in the Civil War, to members of his family – mostly his father, Thomas Stacey. Some letters are to his mother, his brother Charlie and his sisters, Rosa and Maggie.

Facsimiles of the letters will appear at the bottom of each page. If any readers are able to help us fill in the blanks, it would surely be appreciated!

I will try to post a new letter on the site every couple of days, in chronological order until they are finished, so check back often!

All my footnotes to fellow soldiers mentioned in the letters are taken from this site honoring the New York 111th Volunteers .  That information was extracted from the Annual Report of the Adjutant – General of the State of New York for the Year 1903.  I thank the proprietor of that site.

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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."

The Letters

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