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Havens Letter: December 4 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: December 4, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 3
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 3
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

Camp 7th Michigan Cavalry
Near Kearnstown Va
Sunday Dec. 4th 1864

Dear Nell.
I arrived in camp yesterday morning
tired. hungry and almost downsick after a raid of five
days in duration. and was wondering what I should find
to comfort me. when yours of Nov. 23d was handed me from which
I derived a vast amount of consolation. I was glad to hear
from home. and for a time forget the scenes I had just
passed through in conning over in my mind the thoughts
friends and
of how ^ home were passing time away. But about the
raid of which I have spoken: We started from our present
camp at an early hour on Monday morning last and
joined that portion of our regiment that was on picket
some five miles from camp. and then followed the division
on towards Ashby’s Gap. by way of White Post.. The expedi
tion consisted of the 1st & 2nd brigades of our division with
no artillery and no wagon train excepting a few wagons
containing supplies for Div. & Brig. Hd Qrtrs and a few
ambulances; and a pack train. We crossed the Shenandoah
river at Berry’s Ford near the mouth of Ashby’s Gap
and proceeded through the Gap to Paris at the foot
of the mountains on the other side.
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

In or near Paris a few guerrillas were captured and
here the division halted for a short time. Our brigade was
then put in the advance and the work for which we had
come began. Orders were given to burn every. barn. haystack
corn crib or anything which contained supplies of forage
or subsistence for troops. excepting dwelling houses. and drive
of all stock of whatever description they could find. The
25th N.Y. Cavalry of our brigade was detailed for this work
and ere long we could see the flames rising from every
hand. The boys loaded themselves. with turkeys, geese, ducks
chickens, flour, bacon, apples and everything they could
lay hands on. In this way we marched to Upperville
burning everything that was not inhabited driving in
a large drove of stock and capturing several bushwhackers..
At Upperville we halted for the night and camped but
a short distance from the house of Capt Delanos near
where we camped in July of last year. Next morning the
division was separated. our brigade taking nothing but those
men fit for duty. leaving behind pack trains and everything
likely to impede a rapid march struck across the country
towards Salem. and Thoroughfare Gap. while the other brigade
guarding all the stock. trains etc. went towards Snickersville
The 5th Mich. was detailed as destroying Angels. and burned
everything in their way. until we reached Rectortown
where the brigade was again divided the 7th & 5th going
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

to Salem. the rest going towards White Plains.
Soon after leaving Rectortown I was ordered to take ten
men and go ahead as advanced guard.. On coming in
sight of Salem. several Grey Jackets were seen skedaddling
from the town and after passing the town a squad
of twelve or fifteen of them were seen some half a
mile from town quietly watching us. while two
others. apparently an officer and his orderly were
closer and cooly riding around not appearing to notice
us. We were not going to pick a fuss with them. but
were very well satisfied in driving off their stock and
burning their supplies. By this time the entire valley
was full of smoke from the buildings we had burned.
Leaving Salem we took the road towards Middleburgh,
where we were to meet the rest of this brigade.. On coming
in sight of Middleburgh. the advance of the 1st Mich was
fired upon by a few guerrillas who scampered away
towards the mountains when another squad of our
men came up.. Middleburgh is one of the pleasantest
little villages I have seen in Virginia and was once
the metropolis of Loudon Valley; It contains two very
nice hotels. three or four churches. several stores. and many
rich dwelling houses; I do not think it was very extensively
engaged in any manufacturing enterprises. but, was like
nearly all other towns in Eastern Va the home of many wealthy
and influential citizens of the “Old Dominion
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

Leaving Middleburgh we took a road leading to Snickers
ville via Union. which we followed some four miles to New
Lisbon a town of half a dozen corn cribs and half as many dwelling
and then struck across the fields to a small town called Riflemount
where we halted for the night our regt going on picket. The next morn
ing we started early and marched towards Snickersville where we
arrived about noon and found the rest of the division there the. the Reg
ular Brigade having come from Charlestown via Snicker’s Gap. We went
into camp. Killed a lot of sheep. foraged a lot of corn and hay and
various other articles and made ourselves generally merry and
comfortable. The next day our brigade saddled up early and
the 6th Mich and 25th N.Y. were sent out along the top of the mountains
to the left of the Gap. the other at the fort going in the same direction
While the 5th and 7th were started off for Middleburgh again to finish
the work of destruction in the country between the paths travelled
over before. We followed no beaten path but taking a course Kept
it across fields. through forests and lanes Till we reached Union
Where we drove out several guerrillas. burned several barns. and “went
through” several houses.. We Kept quietly on our course leaving a
path of flame and smoke behind us until we struck the pike leading
into Middleburgh from Paris about two miles from Middleburgh
Here a squad of our men in advance of the column were attacked
by 12 or 15 guerrillas. and two men wounded and one captured
and then we had quite an exciting chase. but did not succeed
in capturing anything but one horse. From a Negro we learned
that the Confederate government had a large drove of hogs on
Gorse Creek near by. which Moseby’s men had been engaged
in buying up and herding here to be Killed for the army.
Of course we could do no better than to “go for them” and accor
dingly we “went” We found them hidden in a little nook surroun
ded by hills and woods on the bank of a beautiful little stream
and drove off what we could. They were estimated to number
2000. and were most excellent ones. Many of them were so fat that
we could not drive them and they were shot as our orders
were to destroy them. We drove them to Snickersville that night
reaching camp about 11. O’clock. I presume that we Killed over
a hundred of the very best of the hogs as they could not Keep up.
We were told that the Secesh government paid $7.25 per hundred
pounds live weight. for them in gold. or $20.00 in Confederate [illegible in original]
Moseby’s men had that morning driven in about 150 only
a few hours before we gobbled them. The next morning
our regt was detailed to drive stock, and accordingly found
ourselves headed for home. We had a drove composed. I estimate
it of 600 head of cattle, 1000 head of sheep. and what remained of
the hogs. numbering perhaps 1600 head. All went well enough
until we reached the river on this side of the mountains over
which it was almost impossible to get the hogs and sheep
Many of both were drowned. and the greater part of the sheep
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

that we succeeded in getting over were carried over on
the horses. Those that could not be driven or carried
across were shot. and it sounded like pretty heavy
skirmishing for an hour while they were Killing them.
I presume some 200. or three hundred hogs and sheep were
Killed there. We were releived from driving by the
25th N.Y. and joined the column. We continued our
march towards. Berryville which place we reached
about 3 O’clock P.M.. Here we halted while Col.. Stagg
got his dinner and thus let the the advance of the column
with the stock get a mile or more ahead of us. Berry
ville is like most of the other “Valley” towns small
but peopled by apparently wealthy persons. and built
in a style of comparative beauty. I noticed a steam saw
mill there the first I have seen in a long time.. Soon
after leaving Berryville we started on a trot and began
to think something was up. Someone spoke of guerrillas and
we saw horsemen flying up the road at a great speed.
soon our regiment swung off the pike into an open
field and formed line when just across the field we
saw four “Johnnies” going down the fence at full speed
followed by six or eight of our boys.. and receiving
the order to “go for them” the regt broke and
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

each man going on his own hook lit out. Soon
the regt behind us started, then the next, and soon
the whole brigade was engaged in the chase.. The Reg
ular brigade was just coming out of Berryville. and
they, too soon took up the pursuit and it was really laugha
ble to see two large brigades chasing four men. We succeeded
in capturing three of them. We halted that night some seven
or eight miles from Winchester and reached camp about
10 A.M. yesterday.
The result of this raid has I think been good.
We have destroyed a great depot of supplies for Early’s army.
as all this stock and subsistence could be very easily got
to them by means of Moseby’s gang. who will now be forced
to seek some new haunts, for a time at least. We burned a
filled
large number of flour mills. all well provided with flour;
the farms and storehouses were well filled with wheat,
corn hay and other Kinds of forage. I do not Know
whether any restrictions were laid on foraging from the
houses. but I do Know that the boys took every fowl piece of
bacon. dishes. Knives or anything they took a fancy to at
every house they passed. I went into one house that
they were had gutted and if it is ever my fortune
to have a house I don’t want the “Michigan Brigade”
to go through it. I could’n’t find anything there
that was wanted in housekeeping
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

We lived fat I can assure you and as it was
most beautiful weather and no rebels to trouble us
we enjoyed the raid well. It surprised us very much
to find that Moseby did not get his outlaws together
and attempt to molest us. We could see them watch
ing us in squads of from three to five or more
gathered on hills in front, rear and on both flanks. but
u
they did not attempt to surprise o^r pickets at night,
or molest us much during the day. One or two boys in
our company had rather narrow escapes from them several
times. At one time three men of our rear guard turned
upon eight guerrillas who were following them. and who
fled as soon as our boys turned back.. So it was in all
cases where our men showed any fight. I would have
hated to have been taken prisoner at any time last
week by any of Moseby’s gang. for death must
surely be the fate of one so unfortunate as to fall
into their clutches [illegible in original] Besides the stock spoken
of above from three to five hundred horses were cap
tured many of them of excellent stock. Cattle.
horses. sheep and stock hogs were all of the best of
blood and showed that great pains had been
taken by the people to have their stock compete
with that of any part of the United States
Today a detail from the regt went on picket to be gone
two or three days
Havens Letter: December 4 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: December 4 1864
Havens Letter: December 4 1864

We are highly elated with the news from Sherman
and heartily wish him continued success in his
enterprise.. He is the right man in the right place
and his name like that of Sheridan and Grant
is the harbinger of success.. I think the prospects
are brightening and that we may confidently expect
the end to come very soon.
I am glad to hear that our folks have at last
made up their minds that they can leave home
long enough to make their relations a visit
I receive letters from Minnesota and Pennsylvania
quite often. If Aunt Mary has written to me since.
I last wrote her I have never received the letter. I
wrote to her about the time I came back to the company
and have received no letter.. in reply. I had a letter
from Isom and Melinda a few days before
we started on the raid in which Melinda said
she was quite unwell.
I’d like to have been there and made
the acquaintance of that person you spoke of
that day. but what’s the use of talking I cant do it
I’d like to have a few words with you in private
concerning some things as I must confess I’m a little
puzzled by your letters. I’ve no doubt they are all
right and that you are having lots of fun. so “go in”
I have just received a letter from John Jarvis written
the 26th of November and think he must be having
fine. times. My best wishes for all enquiring
friends and good wishes for the speedy recovery
of Geo. Lee. Poor fellow. soldiering in the southwest is
harder than Va..
Write again soon and beleive me as. ever
Your Aff. Brother
Edwin R Havens
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