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Havens Letter: May 24 1865

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: May 24, 1865
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 8
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 8
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 1

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
Havens Letter: May 24 1865

Camp Remount near City Point Va
May 24th 1865

Dear Nell.
Having nothing very urgent to do
this morning and nothing to read. and wanting
to do something to “drive dull care away”
I have decided on writing you a letter
and so here goes. Lets see; is there any
thing new to write about?.. Well! yes. I
beleive there is. When I last told you
anything about the weather it was
unmercifully hot and dry. but for the
past four or five days we have had a
thunder. wind and rain storm. each
day which has finally resulted in
cooling the air to quite a comfortable
extent.. and now we feel quite fresh
again. I have felt better during the
past three days than for a month
before..

Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 2

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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2
Sunday night we had a fearful storm
of wind. thunder and rain the worst I
ever knew I beleive. The Richmond Whig
tells a fearful thu tale of the ravages of
wind and flood in that “doomed” city
on Sunday night. estimating the
damages at many thousand dollars..
Well! so much for the weather. We are
now. awaiting transports to convey us
to Washington as we received orders
Sunday evening to be ready at a
moments notice to move.. and I
think it quite likely that we shall
be in Washington ere I write
you again. From Washington we
shall go where? I confess. I can
not say. When I wrote you Sunday
morning I expressed the opinion that
as soon as practicable after reaching Wash.
we would go to Michigan. but now. I
am not so positive. I can not fully
and freely relinquish that hope.
yet can not but admit that

Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 3

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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3

the chances are now favorable for
us to serve the remainder of our times
in some part of the country west of
the Mississippi. Such was the sub-
stance of an. item of news in the Herald
of the 21st which stated that to “Sheridan
Merritt. [illegible in original]. Custer and Forsyth.
was intrusted the prosecution of the
war west of the Mississippi..” If this
be so then we all think that their com-
mands go with them.. But there was
a rumor afloat that night that
Kirby Smith had surrendered. It was
but a rumor so far as I could
learn. Yet a salute was fired near
the Point but whether in honor of that
or not I can not say.. Should this be
so we hope that we may be “ex
cused” from a trip to Texas. I would
not mind going on the frontiers for
the remaining months of my service..
for the sake of seeing something new. as
I could thus gratify my desire to
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 4

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
Havens Letter: May 24 1865

4
visit the far west. or portions of it
at Uncle Sam’s expense.. and the expo
sure and hardships including the danger
would be so small that one would not
think of them.
Yesterday and today are the days for
the grand review of the armies at Washing-
ton. I am sorry I could not be there
but fate is against me in this as
in everything else, and I am cooped
up here. where one might as well be
in the Penitentiary as far as comfort
and happiness is concerned..
Last night I went to a “show” down
town. which proved to be a very good one..
Sam Sharpley’s Minstrels. a company
composed of nine or ten performers
combining much musical talent. both
vocal and instrumental. and a little
“right smart” wit.. Things begin to
wear an aspect of peace and civilization
here that is new to the army.
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 5

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
Havens Letter: May 24 1865


5


Here at City point the change is not
so easily perceptible as it is simply a military
depot of supplies. with no home or domestic
trade or enterprise whatever. but at such
places as Petersburg and Richmond one
would scarcely beleive that he was in the
center of a military despotism. City Point
was never. any town and I do not now think
It it could ever be made a very important
place. It has no mill privileges. besides
being so near Petersburg and Richmond
both of which have always been towns
of great commercial importance and
always will be there is but little hope
of it’s ever being of more importance
than now.
The 25th corps still remains in camp
near here. although like ourselves they are
in hourly expectation of moving. One divis-
ion broke camp yesterday and marched
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 6

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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6

down to take transports for Texas or some
other “Seaport” but finally marched
back to camp. because their vessels were
not ready for them. Some one started
the report that the order sending them
south had been countermanded on the
receipt of the news of Kirby Smith’s
surrendered.. Guess it’s not true..
Does any one at home hear anything con
cerning Allen Parks.. I begin to fear we
shall never see him again. Several who
were captured on the 19th of October have
returned to Parole Camp.s. Either at
Annapolis or Columbus Ohio. and have
been heard from. but none of them
ever saw him. and did not even know
that he was missing until told of it by
some in the regiment. and I must
almost beleive that he was killed. that
morning.. Two men of our company who
were captured by guerrillas on our
march from Columbia to White House
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 7

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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7
are now at home or at Camp Chase
I had a letter from Harvey Reynolds
some time ago. He was then at Pleasant
Valley but has since gone to Chapel Point
Md 70 miles below Washington. I had
a letter from my Lieut (Loomis) dated
at that place. a week or so ago. He
said they had been sent there as a
punishment to the people of St.
Mary’s County Md. for Ha harbor
ing the murderer Booth and he
thought they were fulfilling the most
glowing anticipations of the government
in this respect. as the boys were “unruly
as the devil” and were “going through”
everything in good style.. It is imposs
ible to keep good discipline in a body
of three or four thousand men in a camp.
where there is nothing to do. Their war-
like spirit must find gratification some
way and after smouldering awhile it
will suddenly break out. and then
woe to the unlucky sutlers who have

Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 8

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
Havens Letter: May 24 1865

8 been so unlucky venturous as to set
up a shop within their reach. When
our camp was first established four
sutlers and a baker set up their shanties
on the ground and commenced to take
in money. They did “bully” at first. as
the boys had just been paid off. and
like all sutlers they asked exorbitant
prices.. But after awhile this “played
out” the “boys” ran short of funds and
began to see how they had been cheated.
so one calm. quiet. peaceful “Sabbath
h
Eve” they raised a yell and went throug^
two sutlers without a word of warning.
and leaving nothing behind to mark
the spot where these shanties had stood..
One of these was our regimental sutler.
His stock of goods was small. but they
destroyed his tent and stole his money
which amounted to over a hundred dollars.
This satisfied them for a time but
after a while their money gave entirely
out and getting out of patience because
they had to drill three hours a day
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 9

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9


they concluded to wreak their
vengeance on the remaining two. and
one beautiful. starlit Thursday eve they rallied
at the sound of the bugle and went through
one sutler quick as flash. At this the
Col. came out and tried to stop them but
no stop did they see. they made a
charge for the other sutler were met
by
^ a small force of armed men.. but
carried them away like a flash.. At
this a Lieut charged down upon them,
mounted, fired into the crowd and shot
one man through the breast.. At this
some of the crowd turned on him and
commenced shooting at him but fortu
nately missed him. but he afterwards
was forced to leave camp to save his
life. They gave the sutler permission
to take his money and leave. contenting
themselves with his stock which at
his prices was worth nearly or quite
1500 dollars
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 10

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10
They stole his horse and one of
the boys run it off and sold it. Since
that time we have had no sutlers and
all has been quiet. On the arrival of
a portion of Shermans army near
Richmond they immediately struck
out and destroyed fifteen or sixteen
sutlers stores in a very few moments..
It is surprising to all to see the
jealousy with which the Army of
Sherman. regards the Army of the Poto-
mac. They call the soldiers “band-
box men.” and say they have never done
anything. and claim to have done all the
marching and all the fighting while
we have done simply nothing. and
declare they can whip the Army of the
Potomac and will before they leave
Washington.. It surprises us the more
that we have always felt proud of
the armies of the Ohio. Cumberland and
the Tennessee.
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 11

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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11
We must concede the palm of marching
to them. but the fighting we think has
been very nearly equally divided. Where
have they ever done more or [illegible in original] fighting
than our army. Their victorious battles
may perhaps number more. but were
they harder fought. What battle was
ever fought exceeding the fierceness of
Gettysburg I contend that not one
of their battles was equal to that. Pitts
burg landing. was a severe battle. so was
Perryville. Chickamauga and the
seige of Vicksburg gave many terrible
scenes. and the battles of last spring
previous to the taking of Atlanta but
the battles of Bull Run.. Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville.. Mine Run. Spottysl
vania. Cedar Mountain Winchester 1, 2, & 3.
Cedar Creek. The Wilderness. Coal Harbor
and the battles of McClellans peninsular
campaign. Williamsburg, Malvern Hill
Savage Station the Seven pines. Fair
Oaks. Chantilly. and the siege of
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 12

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12
Petersburg and Richmond and
the pursuit and capture of Lee. it seems
to me weigh as much in our favor
as their victorious battles do in theirs..
Since their occupation of Atalanta. they
have done no fighting of any note. they
have conquered. Georgia. North and South
Carolina and annihilated Johnston’s
army in the time. but with not one
tenth the loss sustained by our
army since then.. I like to brag
of our Michigan boys once in awhile
and can not refrain from relating
the following. When Sherman’s army arrived
at Petersburg our cavalry were in camp
near their road. and while passing one
of
of our camps (that ^ our brigade) one of
the boys was buying a pie of a “pie
woman” and had laid it down in the
grass while he payed for it. One of Sher
man’s men stepped from the ranks
and picked it up. but soon (in less
than no time found himself lying

Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 13

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12
Petersburg and Richmond and
the pursuit and capture of Lee. it seems
to me weigh as much in our favor
as their victorious battles do in theirs..
Since their occupation of Atalanta. they
have done no fighting of any note. they
have conquered. Georgia. North and South
Carolina and annihilated Johnston’s
army in the time. but with not one
tenth the loss sustained by our
army since then.. I like to brag
of our Michigan boys once in awhile
and can not refrain from relating
the following. When Sherman’s army arrived
at Petersburg our cavalry were in camp
near their road. and while passing one
of
of our camps (that ^ our brigade) one of
the boys was buying a pie of a “pie
woman” and had laid it down in the
grass while he payed for it. One of Sher
man’s men stepped from the ranks
and picked it up. but soon (in less
than no time found himself lying

Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 14

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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14
A comrade and I have pledged our
selves to go together. next fall. and then
I hope to obtain some situation and start
out in life in good order and [illegible in original]
Farming I dont beleive I could ever do
again.. There is no disputing the fact that
it is the healthiest, and pleasantest pur
suit in life. but I do not beleive I could
ever carry on a farm unless I was able
to hire some one to do the hard work
and that is entirely out of the question.
I must be hired. and consequently
propose engaging to do such work
as I am competent both physically
and mentally to do. I would teach
again were my education sufficient
to conduct such a school as that in
Buchanan. but I am not. and the
thing that suites me next best
is the mercantile and that I shall
try if I can get. One might, with
requisite abilities gain renown. in
some one of the professions of law.
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 15

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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15

medicine ministry or politics..
but Heaven preserve me from such a
fate..
You say you have hopes of taking
John Sparks into your circle. soon.
and say that when I get home you
will haul me “over the gridiron..”
Dont croon before you are out of the woods
my lad.. I can tell you that you can
save much of your valuable time and
breath by saying nothing about it when
I get home. for my mind is fully
made up never to join any such thing..
I do not see any great harm in the G-T-s
I will say that. Their professed object is good
and did they seek to carry out their pro-
fession and reclaim drunkards and make
them good respectable and respected citi
zens I would feel proud to join their
society.. But Well. I beleive that you
will not deny my assertion that their
society in Buchanan has never done
anything of this kind..
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 16

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16
Three years ago the chief of the lodge
invited me to join it. and as an induce
ment. asserted that they admitted no
one unless they were known to possess
a first class character. were not addicted
to the vice of intemperance etc.. You.
know that I declined entering the lodge
at that time and the greatest reason
I had. was the inconsistency of their course
of conduct with the professed object
of the society.. Afterwards. while in
the store I found out nearly all the
members of the lodge and found
that there were many of them whom
every one was ashamed to associate
with before the world.. this set me
against them still more. The lodge
in Buchanan I can not deny
embraces among its members many
of the leading members of the society
of the town. and were it devoted to the
advancement of good morals. and the
formation of correct habits it would be
good
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 17

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17


Of course, being an outsider I can
say nothing of the doings of the mem-
bers in their meetings. but you know
that all we outsiders ever hear of their
doings is simply the boast of “lots of
fun” “gay old times” etc. and one
is led to beleive that their whole object
is fun and frolic.. Well that is all
well enough. but why need they keep their
mode of enjoying themselves hidden from
the world.. Each member is required
to pay a certain sum in to the treasury
of the lodge and that money is used
to buy a parcel of rags and other
material to make a regalia and
on “State occasions” they come rigged
out in these things looking more
like a parcel of halffledged pea
cocks than sensible men and
women.
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 18

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17


Of course, being an outsider I can
say nothing of the doings of the mem-
bers in their meetings. but you know
that all we outsiders ever hear of their
doings is simply the boast of “lots of
fun” “gay old times” etc. and one
is led to beleive that their whole object
is fun and frolic.. Well that is all
well enough. but why need they keep their
mode of enjoying themselves hidden from
the world.. Each member is required
to pay a certain sum in to the treasury
of the lodge and that money is used
to buy a parcel of rags and other
material to make a regalia and
on “State occasions” they come rigged
out in these things looking more
like a parcel of halffledged pea
cocks than sensible men and
women.
Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 19

Havens Letter: May 24 1865
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19

Tomorrow is my birthday. 23 years
old. Is it possible. almost a man
aint I. Golly! but dont I feel my
importance. Each year brings some
new change with it.. A year ago today
I was foraging on the Richmond and
Fredericksburg R R. a few miles below
Milford Station and greeted our cavalry
on their return from the Sheridan raid to
Richmond., two years ago. I was doing
picket duty on the Orange and Alexandria
R.R. near Kettle Run. and three years
ago I was in Michigan. little
thinking that today I should be
thousands of miles from home. After
having passed through what little I have.
Ah! No. My prospects were of a far
different color then. A peaceful quiet
though busy life as a merchants clerk
seemed to be my destiny then.
Mother can say tomorrow morning.
as she did three years ago. “Ah! Ed
twenty three years ago this morning you

Havens Letter: May 24 1865, Page: 20

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20

were not sitting there..” More changes
than these have taken place during
this time. old friends have given place
to new ones. which in turn have given away
for others. Comrades who two years ago
were with me full of life and hope are
now scattered far and wide. one now [molding?]
on the field of Gettysburg. one lies in the prison
tombs of Georgia four sleep on the battlefields
of Va. and five more lie buried amid
the sands of Belle Isle. or the burial
grounds near Richmond. While there are
others whose fate we may never know_
the only record in the memory is “missing”
But I guess I had better close. as
this has grown long enough has’n’t it &
“Remember me to all inquiring
friends” as the letter writers say.
and be sure that you remember
Your Brother
Ed R Havens
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