Title

Havens Letter: September 2 1864

Back

Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: September 2, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 26
Language: English
Rights Management: Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by Michigan State University and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.
Contributing Institution: Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections
Relation: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 26
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

Harpers Ferry Va
Sept 2nd 1864

Brother Nell.
Yours of Aug 23d
came to hand a few days since and
I must plead want of time and op
portunity as an excuse for not answer
ing it sooner. As we are lying in
the same encampment from whence
I wrote my last. the Q.M. is busy
in getting up his papers for July and
August. and I have rendered him what
poor service ther in my power.. for several
days. and we are not done yet.
As to news from this vicinity
I do not know what would be news
to you. Of course you have heard ere
this of the fights of Thursday of last
week between Shepherdstown and
Martinsburg and. of that of Monday
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

last near Smithfield and if the
papers have done justice they have
informed you that Custer’s
Michigan men did the fighting
on our side and got whipped.
No one can deny the latter part
but who can wonder when they
fought greatly superior numbers
of cavalry and infantry: Although
all agree that they were very severe
skirmishes. the loss of the brigade
was very slight: In the first the
loss was but two killed and over
twenty wounded. in the last the
wounded were greater but the num
ber of killed I have not learned..
In that of Thursday our company
lost none. but in that of Monday
it lost three in wounded one of
them severely through body and
arm the others slightly. One of
those wounded Monday was a
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

new recruit having joined the
company only two days before.
Five recruits joined our company
I think on Saturday last. nearly
all of them having seen three years
service in other regiments. and one
in particular. mustered out of a
Kentucky regiment three weeks ago
got on a [“bum”?] and enlisted be
fore he got home and was shoved
down here without going home at
all.. Whiskey is a great institution
and makes a great many patriots..
and should.I think. be exempt
from tariffs and taxations on
account of the benefit it is to the
recruiting service. What say you?
The weather still continues dry
but is quite cool. especially at night
when overcoats and gloves are not
uncomfortable. and are almost an
absolute necessity. The days are
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

variable. One minute the sun
shines hot enough to roast eggs.
the next the wind will blow enough
to freeze one to death. It reminds me
of the bet between the sun and the
wind as to which would or could
cause a man to take of his coat
quickest.. It is easy enough to im
agine which was successful on
trial. On Sunday morning our
cavalry withdrew from Shepherds
town and Sharpsburg and passing
through marched out to Smithfield
a few miles beyond Charlestown
the rebels having fallen back
from [Halltown?] Saturday afternoon
and night From Smithfield they
moved to Berryville and this morn
ing fell back again to near Charles
town. Supplies were sent to them on
Monday and again on Wednesday.
As usual the night is the chosen
time for any such business. and
it became my good luck to have
some business given me to do at
Brig Hd Quarters and so I set
forth with the train
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

We left here about 9 P.M.
and reached Charlestown at mid
night: reported at army Hd Qrts
and received orders to go into [illegible in original]
and wait for further orders.
This was something new. the trips
had generally been made without
these stoppages. and expecting this
would be a similar one and
that we would be in camp by
daylight. no rations were taken
along. At daylight. “further orders”
were to remain till “further orders”
came again. Well we growled about
our “bread baskets” feeling empty. and
crawled out of the sun and slept
awhile. Waking up about noon
“further orders” had’nt come.. So
after growling awhile longer two
of us “Started down to Charlestown”
after our “daily bread”
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

We ransacked the town and
did’nt find it. and sitting down
on a corner stone lamented our
hard fate. when [illegible in original] and listen.
There’s a human female womans
voice singing “Red white and blue”
in a good clear strong tone. just as
though they werent afraid to do it
even in Va. We listened till she had
finished that and sung a part of
another Union Song. and then I
“went for her” and in the course
of a quarter of an hour was devouring
warm short cake. cold, boiled bacon
butter, apple, [sass?]. coffee pie [&? etc.?]
with such zest as only hungry
men can.. But the point of the
joke on us was the “Old Woman.”
(and of course the young one too) was
“Secesh” to the backbone. said she’d
never taken the oath and never
would if she starved. yet was
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

really kind and quite reasonable
in her demands for money when
we came to pay the bill.
It is reported and I think
is true that one corps of infantry
(the 19th) is leaving here for City
Point and some think the 8th
will follow. It is the general
opinion here that Sheridan will
not attempt to fight Early out of
the valley. but check him from going
into Maryland. harass his rear if he
attempts to go back up the valley
and at all risks to keep him away
from Richmond as far as possible
This is the plan he has seemed
to work on thus far. acting merely
on the defensive. I think this
the plan at the present time
We hear nothing more concerning
the fate of Harvey Reynolds. nor do I
know whether anyone has notified
Havens Letter: September 2 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: September 2 1864
Havens Letter: September 2 1864

any of his friends or not I
have thought of doing so. but have
found no opportunity as yet..
The papers have been watched closely
since the meeting of the Chicago
Convention. and the nomination
of McClellan surprises no one. except
ing that from the speeches made
at the opening. we began to look
for a harder fight for a union of
votes in the convention. The north
western delegates must have given in
rather rapidly it seems to me. I find
more men who will vote for McClellan
than I expected. but they are but a small
portion of the soldiers yet. not one tenth.
They have some hopes that with the
aid of the Fremont party they will
be able to defeat Lincoln. but agree
that if McClellan were his only opposing
candiate there would be no sign
of a chance for him. A great many
anti McClellan men speak well of the
peace resolutions of the Chicago platform
and would favor an armistice But
nearly every one feels more confident
every day of a speedy termination of the
war let the issue of the election be
what it may. The decline of gold is
cheering. isnt it.
Well I will close this letter
as supper is nearly ready
Write soon and beleive me
as ever Your Brother
Ed

Contact us with Questions or Comments