Title

Havens Letter: July 18 1865

Back

Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: July 18, 1865
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 10
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 10
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 1

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

Camp Seventh Michigan Cavalry
Julesburg Colorado Territory
July 18th 1865
Dear Nell.
Yours of July 2nd mailed July 4th was received
on our arrival here last night and I can tell you was warmly
welcomed for with a cold windy day. long. tedious march. an empty
belly and out of sorts generally. I was just about as uncom
fortable a chap as you would find in a days march. and
had I been disappointed in my hopes of receiving at
least one letter and that from home. I should have felt
like consigning the “western world” to Pontiac. Halifax. or
some other. of the nuermous places people are invited to visit
when their company is disagreeable to us. But the letter
came and I held it tight with both hands. to keep the
wind from blowing it away and to steady my nerves
which were shaking like those of a person afflicted
with the Ague or St Anthony’s dance.
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 2

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

The single. simple fact that we have arrived at
Julesburg is the only item of news I have to communicate
since leaving Cottonwood Springs. Our march has been
the same, monotonous. affair that it has ever since we
left the boundaries of civilization and all are growing dull
and rather discontented but me. and you know I am
never displeased.. This Platte River valley is one long.
narrow. flat low valley from Fort Kearney to this place. and
so far as we can see towards Denver it is the same. We have
no amusement. whatever; up in the morning before the Cock
crows. on the march soon after sunrise halt at 11 o’clock.
go into camp and remain until 3.P.M. then march ‘till
nearly sundown and go into camp for the night.
The only amusement we have is watching some one
chase a big “Jackrabbitt” or kill a rattlesnake or stare
at the women that accompany. sometimes, the trains that
we meet or pass on the road. We make our coffee from
the waters of the Platte. cook the same over a fire
of “Buffalo Chips” not [illegible in original] of which we saw a Buffalo
tree. Our method of cooking. everything excepting coffee
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 3

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

is to cut our meat into slices. mix up our dough
for biscuits. etc. make a large fire of “Chips” put the dough
inside cover it up with chips. and lay our bacon on the
top to roast. A great many of the chips are rather
green yet. and when they get hot the aroma arising there
from is most excellent and gives all an excellent appetite.
O! you. poor devils. who never get away from home. beyond the
limits of the farthest cornfield fence. are now. and always
will be utterly ignorant of the joys and comforts of life.
and the excitement of a life of “Soft soldiering” in
the “army of the plains” One half years sojourning in
the wild western praries would give you a better idea
of real solid comfort. to say nothing of romance and the
“flights of fancy” than a life time among the corn and
‘taters. pumpkin pies. apple sass. bread and butter.. pretty
girls. festivals. Good [illegible in original] Lodges. Fourth of Julia. cele
brations and Balls of the insipid society of a civilized
community. Here everything is in an [illegible in original]
state of Nature and we can commune with the afore
said dame in all her glory and with the freedom of
a spoiled child.
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 4

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

Here. Mother Nature has never indulged in the fatal
curiosity of Her Sister Eve and eaten of the fruit of the
tree of knowledge and received knowledge and found herself
naked and became ashamed: so that we meet here without
the Apron of Fig leaves about her loins. At first all this
was pleasant; but “familiarity breeds contemps” is an
old saying. and proves itself true in this instance. I am
fast learning to despise the effrontery or innocence of
girls that induces the aforementioned dame to appear
before us in the state costume in which we always
see her.. An apron of some kind if it was nothing more
than a good broad belt of beech. and maple leaves would
be very acceptable to our sight..
But I suppose you are anxiously waiting a description
of Julesburg.. Well I’ll give you one. taken from a paper
published at Fort Leavenworth. which describes it as a
flourishing town situated at the head of navigation on
the South Platte river. I have no doubt that the hand
that guided the pen which wrote those words was governed
by the will of the mind of a head very far seeing. and disdain
ing to look at Julesburg in the year of our Lord 1865. [illegible in original]
on farther to some time in the 25th century when the millen
ium shall have come and this desolate earth be made to “blossom
like the rose.” and when the powers of steam or some more
powerful agent shall have dredged the channel of the
aforesaid South Platte so that at least a Flat boat or
Indian “dugout” might navigate its waters.. I wish I
could see so far into the “shadowy future” as this fellow.
but I am compelled to be content with the pair of
eyes I have which can see nothing of the kind..
Julseburg is a name and that is about all.
I wish I knew the signification of the word (for it
certainly must have one) but I can only imagine
that it means about the same as “Jack O Lantern”
“Will o’ the Wisp” and words of the same import
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 5

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

[5]


I took a good long look at the spot where the
aforesaid “flourishing town” is supposed to be “at the
head of navigation on the South Platte” last night. before
dark. gave it a minute inspection after dark and took
another long look this morning. then looked in the glass and
found my eyes looking red and inflamed. and came
to the conclusion that a sight of Julesburg would be
“good for sore eyes” There is a sutlers store here where
one can buy anything from a lucifer match to a keg of
gunpower. or from a needle full of [illegible in original] to a skeleton of
crinoline. in fact almost anything you want even if its
a headache that nothing in the list of medicines found
in the saddle bags of an army surgeon could cure..
Then there is a store house in which is kept quarter masters
and commissary’s stores. two or three little adobe houses.
a number of tents in which are quartered the soldiers
that constitute the garrison. This is Julesburg as I
see it at the present day..
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 6

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

Two years ago Julesburg stood about half a mile below
here and consisted of a ranch and blacksmith shop. store
telegraph and stage office. but the Indians burned it in
the winter of .63 etc. and the military post is all
that remains. The prospects of ever becoming the “flourish
ing town” at the head of navigation” etc. are most goldarned
slim in my mind.. The South Fork is a narrow. shallow
stream with a bottom of quicksand filled with small
islands all the way from here to its junction with the
North Fork.. and it would need a better navigator
than I am to pilot a common skiff down its [current?].
Wood can be had by hauling it from Cottonwood Springs
the very moderate distance of 110 miles or at a distance of
60 to 75 miles on the route to Fort Laramie. There is
not a tree or twig anywhere in sight from here and
“Buffalo Chips” are not to be had. It was said the
Q.M. would issue some “chips” to us but they are not
forthcoming yet. and our boys are rather hungry.
We are now awating orders from Gen. Connor. and
can not tell how long we are to remain here. It is
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 7

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

such a delightful place that I hope we may be
allowed to remain here for the “unexpired term”
If they do move us we are at a loss to conjecture
where we are to go. Some whisper Denver. other Laramie
those who whisper Denver have fruitful minds for imagin
ation while those who say Laramie are those who look the
matter full in the face, and feeling “bold as a sheep” I
say laramie. The distance to Laramie is 175 miles
to Denver nearly 200. the warm weather we have
enjoyed so long took a sudden cold on Saturday
evening and Sunday and Monday were colder than
Greenland. with a breeze breeze that must have
been half brother to “Old [Poreas?]” himself and to make
the cup of delight overflowing no more blessed with
a drizzling rain the water of which would have
answered for lemonade without ice. This morning the
wind is coming from another of the “four corners” of
this mundane sphere. and the misty clouds are hurry
ing away to some remote spot. while the sun is strug
gling hard to “shed the light of its beaming countenance”
upon us once again
Havens Letter: July 18 1865, Page: 8

Havens Letter: July 18 1865
Havens Letter: July 18 1865

I am sorry to learn that you are so nearly
ill. and hope this may find you restored to health
again. For myself I can say that my health has not
been better in years than it is now. Your letter was the
most interesting one I have received in a long time. Why
cant you write such every time? Such letters remind me
of times. when I was young. and the memory of boy hoods
is
day are always welcome to an old man.. who has retired
from the world. and left its follies behind.
I am most truly grateful for Miss Sherwood’s
kind remembrance of me: tis always sweet to know that
one is not forgotten. What in thunder is the reason
Isom and Melinda don’t write to me. It just seems to
me that those who know me best are determined to
“go back” on me “Distance lends enchantment to the view”
says the [illegible in original]” (“I guess it was. when a [“illegible in original”] or Daniel Webster)
and I presume it’s so in this case. for they are so enchanted
at seeing me at a distance that they are afraid a letter
would break the spell and spoil the show. Well let
“the wide world wag as it will.” “I’ll be gay and happy
still” and if Michigan dont prove healthy when I return
to it I’ll emigrate to Wisconsin and be a badger.
Some body there says they’re sorry I aint a “Badger”
thats because I’m not so well known as I am in
Michigan.. If any one in Michigan should ever
inquire for me or about me tell them that I’m
transported. and give them a silver dollar to remem
ber me by. If Father and Mother have’n’t forgotten
that they ever had a boy named “Ed” give them my
love. and accept them same for yourself. and
write soon to your.
Wandering Brother
Ed..

Contact us with Questions or Comments