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Havens Letter: September 25 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: September 25, 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 25 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

Quarter Masters Office
1st Brig. 1st Divis Cav.
Winchester Va.
September 25th 1864
There Nell.
What do you think of
that for the commencement of a letter.
Aint that style? I imagine it is. and
that it raises me up about a feet, a
feet and a half or two feet.. But to
business. What are you doing this
dull, cold, windy day; I rather im
agine you are writing letters and
that the mail a few days hence
will contain for me one of your ever
welcome letters.. But while we may
both be employed in similar ways
and each trying to tell the other
his experiences of the past few days
how much more pleasant would it
be could we, or one of us traverse
Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

the many miles that now separate
us and both sit down together and
in social converse while away a
few hours of this long lonely day..
More than eighteen months have
passed us by with all their vicissitudes
and changes. since we have exchanged
words by mouth. yet the time seems
to me shorter by many months. and
even when. in moments of idle listless
ness I review the events of my life
since I last saw home and friends
I can hardly realize that it has been
so long.. and when I look forward
to the coming twelve months through
which we must pass before I can
hope to meet you. I am cheered by the
thoughts that they will fly on wings
equally rapid in their movements..
But why am I always writing in
this strain. I have written these
same words time and again. and

Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

should try to find something else
to write.
Well I really wish you could
be here today. I feel like visiting and
would like to show you around the
town. and if you wished could show
you all of the workings of what that you
would ever care to see.. You could see
here. our own men confident in their
strength and contented with the results
of the late victory. the greatest ever yet
won on Virginia soil. the rebel prisoners
and the captured flags and cannon.
Then too there are the hospitals filled
with the wounded and resounding with
their cries of pain. It is a sad spec
tacle to see these noble fellows who
but a few days since were full of
life and joy. now lying sadly maimed
and writhing in their agony. Many
of them lay without care until their
wounds actually became “maggoty”
Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

I visited with a Lieut Friday after
noon who lost an arm in last Monday’s
fight and I never felt so much
sympathy for a person in my life.
Not that he seemed to suffer much although
we knew that he must. But he bore it with
out a murmur and was as cheerful
as one could be in health
ly
Lieut Col Brewer is doing extraordinari^
well, and the surgeon is confident of a
complete recovery. None can be better
pleased than I am at this. although
I am not personally acquainted with
him. never having seen him but twice
but he has made our regiment what
it now is. the best in the brigade
Do not consider me boasting when
I say this. for it is no more than
any one else will tell you. Gen Custer
calls it his best. and placed unbounded
confidence in Col Brewer. to whom
alone. the col was second in every quali
fication of a commanding officer
in the brigade
Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

I am much disappointed
in the appearance of Winchester. as
it had been so highly praised for its beauty
by those who had been here before.
But its streets are so narrow. the majority
of its buildings so old and dilapidated
that I think it is far inferior in
point of beauty to Charlestown. Culpep
per or Fredericksburg. There are some
very large and elegant buildings but
being surrounded as they are by such
poor buildings they do not appear
to so good advantage as they other
wise might. There is only one thing
that I can see in which it is
superior to Eeither of the other places
names. That is in the number and
beauty of its girls. I actually saw
about twenty females. from the age
of sixteen to twenty two who would
compare quite favorably with those
of our own Michigan
Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

The battles since Monday have
all been victories. and great ones too.
On Friday Gen. Sheridan sent an officer
with a dispatch to Harper’s Ferry and
in going through here he stopped to
change horses and while doing this he
said that Sheridan had completely
routed Early capturing a great many
prisoners. nearly all of his artillery and
wagon train: This. Gen Sheridan told
him to spread all along the route as
he pased. Last night a portion of the
army supply train returned here.
and accompanying them came a
body of two thousand Johnnies on
their way north and several pieces
of artillery variously stated to be
from 18 to 26 pieces. I saw eleven,
I think, myself. but would not
vouch for the truth of any greater
number.. Our Supply train which
started for the command on
Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

The battles Thursday morning
has not yet returned.. The prisoners
were guarded by a regiment. who bore
at its head a flag staff with a few
shreds of what had once, I presume, been
a beautiful banner clinging to it: but
it was so comletely torn and riddled
by balls that scarce two square inches
of it remained together. The band played
“Carry me back to Old Virginny” as they
passsed our camp. The prisoners like all I
have ever seen were large. strong men and
seemed as happy as larks.. A great many
of them were inhabitants of the “Valley”
and of Winchester.. and have strutted
over the valley all summer in triumph
but how have they fallen. Several of
them were the tallest men I ever saw
I could pick out a dozen men
in that crowd whose average weight
highth was ---- I was about to say
seven feet. but would probably fall

Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

short of that. two inches. not more
than that. I’ll take my oath.
Moseby still continues his depre
dations to a considerable extent. but he
sometimes meets his match. especially
when he meets Custer or any of our Cav.
commanders. Friday while a train of
ambulances filled with wounded
was coming in from the front with a
guard of only sixty men. Moseby with a
band of (some) hundreds men captured
them disarmed the guard robbed the
wounded and to cap the sum of his
cruelties some of his men shot seven
men belonging to the guard. Soon Gen’s
Custer and Merritt came up drove
him off and captured thirteen men
and one Lieut. and on learning what
had been done instantly caused the
prisoners they held to be shot in
retaliation.. Yesterday we had to
send out foraging parties to get subsistence
for our animals as the supplies brought
with us failed yesterday morning. and
while returning to camp some Johnnies
chased a few men into camp. and in
the melee one wagon belonging to division
Hd Qrs train lost a wheel and ran about
a mile on three wheels. None were cap
tured however
Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

I did not go out but those
who did met with good success and
the wagon came in loaded with hay.
grain corn. sheep. chickens. cabbages. po
tatoes. apples and various other articles
that were very acceptable. The sheep
we find here. like the horses and cattle
are of superior blood. and one buck
brought in yesterday would have been
worth a nice little sum at home.
One man of our division some time
ago captured a buck that was valued
at Five Hundred Dollars..
But I have spun out quite a yarn
and have’nt said much after all. so I
think I had better quit. But if I could
sit down and talk a whole day. I could
tell you “ten thousand truths. no one
would ever find out” With my
most fervent wishes for the good health
of all I remain. as ever
Your Aff Brother Ed R.H.
Havens Letter: September 25 1864 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: September 25 1864
Havens Letter: September 25 1864

Monday Morning
September 26th 1864

I open my letter this morning
to give you the sad news of Col Brewers
death which took place yesterday
afternoon.. Yesterday morning he was
considered to be doing exceedingly well
but was almost unavoidably neglected
and no surgeon could be procured
to dress his wound until late and
then all efforts were fruitless. He
could not be saved; His loss to
the brigade is very great and
to our regiments can [not?] be es
timated..
I shall wait anxiously for
a letter from you. Write often
Yours
Ed
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