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Havens Letter: November 14 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: November 14, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 2
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 2, Folder 2
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: November 14 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: November 14 1864
Havens Letter: November 14 1864

Camp 7th Mich Cavalry
Pleasant Valley.
Near Sandy Hook Md
November 14th 1864

Dear Nell;
Again I seat myself to
scratch you off a few lines to inform you of
the events of the time since I last wrote to
you. You will look at the great. long heading of
this and noticing an old. familiar look about. wonder
what brings me to this part of the world again.
and perhaps will think I am “playing off” again
I will tell you how I happen to be here. first.
commencing where my last, (which will reach you almost
as soon as this) left off; After closing my letter on the
19th we waited for “further orders” which came at about
12 o’clock M. in the shape of Major Gen. Merritt com
manding the division; accompanied by his staff and
escort. and Col Stagg. and a part of his staff. who
came for the purpose of inspecting our camp and
condition.. They passed through the camp the Gen.
giving his personal attention to the condition of men
Havens Letter: November 14 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: November 14 1864
Havens Letter: November 14 1864

horses and arms. We were got out into line and
inspection commenced when our squadron was or
dered out for an exhibition of our skill in the man
ual of arms with both carbine and sabre. The manual
of the carbine was all well enough but that of the
sabre. good heavens! what cavalry man Knows any
thing about that. Not a dozen men in the whole squad
ron had ever been instructed in right cut; front cut,
left cut, rear cut and so on through the manual
and to have to exhibit our ignorance and awkward
ness before a Major Gen. was too much entirely Well we
got through with all that and went to bed. expecting
that we would scarcely be permitted to stay there
all night. The infantry pickets had been drawn in
from our front. and some of the men who had been
over to the pike said they saw the infantry march
ing back to the rear. and every one beleived that
when we moved it would be to the rear. At four
Oclock next morning the bugles sounded reveillie
and an hour later “Boots and Saddles” and soon
after daylight we moved out from camp and
took the road for Middletown. We found all
the infantry gone from the vicinity of Middletown
and not until we reached Newtown did we
Havens Letter: November 14 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: November 14 1864
Havens Letter: November 14 1864

see any troops beside our own. There we found
a small picket force of infantry but not until
we had got within five miles of Winchester did
we strike the main force of the army. Just then
we met Major Gen. Sheridan riding to the front and
gave him three hearty cheers as he passed.
We struck off across the country towards the
Front Royal road and after going round and
round three or four hours we went into camp
in a very pleasant spot which we were informed
was to be our camp for the winter.. We laid out
the camp and had got a part of the tents pitched;
the supply train had come up; grain and rations
had been drawn, and we were getting our dinners
when up came one of the aids from Brig Hd Qrtrs
with an order to Major Darling to take his regiment
and report to Gen. Merritt immediately. Well was’n’t
that a sad blow to all of our anticipations of peace
and quietness for the next five months. here we were
off again. nobody Knew where. We arrived at
Gen Merritts Hd Qrtrs formed in line of squadrons
and dismounted. soon along came division inspection
and we were ordered to unsaddle and then com
menced the work and our eyes were opened
Havens Letter: November 14 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: November 14 1864
Havens Letter: November 14 1864

We smelt the rat. and Knew where we were going.
Our horses were to be inspected. and all that were
serviceable were to be taken away from us and in
their place we were to receive the condemned animals
of the whole division. and were to ride them to Pleasant
Valley turn them over and draw new ones.. Well. it took
until 3 P.M. of next day to get ready to start and then
we marched to about 3 miles form Winchester where we
started camped for the night. The next day we marched
to Martinsburg. where we stayed until over night and
yesterday marched in here and today we have turned over
our horses and sabres. and pitched camp among some
3 or 4,000 more dismounted cavalry.. where we shall probably
remain a month or more. We are camped within a quarter of
a mile from the spot where our train was parked when we
lay here in August and September.. It is the worst camp
for cavalry that well have ever had. There is no wood under
quarter of a mile and up the mountain at that. We are
to have no teams to draw wood and all that we get will have
to be “backed” from the mountain to camp. We have nothing
but our little dog tents. to live in. and as it is cold as
Greenland. with the limited supply of wood with which
we are compelled to get along. we are not so comfortable
as we would be at the front where rail fences were
rather plenty and no one said anything against taking
the top cut of a rail for kindling wood..
There is no news either from the army or the
world with which I am very well acquainted..
Fighting was heard in our front the day we left
there but was only a reconnaissance made by the
enemy to find our lines I think. Sheridan does
not intend to abandon Winchester I think and
the line will remain where it was on Thursday
last and when we return to the front we shall go
into camp about four miles from Winchester towards
Front Royal.. The folks down here feel considerable
anxiety concerning the movements of that implacable
enemy. Moseby who if we beleived all the reports in
circulation concerning him we would think was
Omnipresent and omniscient being everywhere
and Knowing every thing. We have just had orders
to draw ammunition for our carbines
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