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Havens Letter: October 6 1865

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: October 6, 1865
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: Havens Letter: October 6 1865
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: Havens Letter: October 6 1865
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: October 6 1865 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: October 6 1865
Havens Letter: October 6 1865

General Court Martial Rooms
Denver C. T.
October 6th 1865
Dear Nell.
Yours of September 12th 1865 came to hand
this morning and was mighty welcome. you bet! for I had
not had a letter from any one since a date anterior to Noahs
flood.. and began to fear that something had happened
in America that had revolutionized affairs to so
great an extent as to foreclude all possibility of [an?]
poor devils in this benighted and God forsaken portion of
Nature’s domains. ere hearing from then again
Upon receipt of my letter of last Sunday I presume you
will look to me for something of a lengthy if not interesting
epistle. Well I will see what I can do to gratify your
desires & fulfill your expectations. In the first place you
will expect me to give you a general description of things
and Denver in particular. You, of course, have some
idea of what Denver is in size and appearance. how it
is located. and what sorts of people inhabit it. I know
I had before I came here. My idea was something
like this. A town of considerable size near the foot of
the mountains. irregularly laid out. thinly built.. the
Havens Letter: October 6 1865 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: October 6 1865
Havens Letter: October 6 1865

principal part of the buildings of logs or adobe. and
inhabited by a great mixture of Indians Mexicans. Spaniards
cutthroats. thieves and gamblers. Its hotels the meanest
in the known world when guests were bled by night and
day, by landlords and bedbugs. and when you could’n’t look
at a Landlord for less than five dollars. or a tradesman for
ten. where they would steal you out of your clothes by day
and murder you afterwards for mere “fun”
In some respects my ideas approximated very closely to
the reality, in others they were as far from the truth as
Denver is from London. The town is built in the sand
a few miles from the Rocky Mountains. is regularly and
quite beautifully laid out. It comprises within its limits
a settled population of about 5000 inhabitants and boasts
a floating population of 10,000. The business portion of
the town is at least three fourths of the whole.. I think.
Three streets running parallel with the South Platte
at least nearly half a mile in length. closely built on
both sides the cross streets three in number and equally
as long. and equally closely built up. comprise the business
portion of the town. On these streets are very large two story
brick blocks. taking up nearly if not fully one half of
the entire space. and even many of the wooden ones would
not be a disgrace to Niles or Kalamazoo. Here you can
go into one place and get anything you want in the
Havens Letter: October 6 1865 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: October 6 1865
Havens Letter: October 6 1865

clothing line, at that store you will find a large
collection of dry goods. at another books. stationery.
etc. and in fact you can find here anything that
could be obtained in Cincinnati. Chicago. and any
other of the inland cities of the states. It would sur
prise you to enter these stores and see their collection of
goods of all kinds. One can get anything he wants here
if he has the money, that is the one thing needful..
It wants a fortune to live here on. but those here seem
to be driving a thriving business. and all are busy.
There is one large brick church. a most beautiful edifice
where religious services are held almost every evening. but
it has been so long since I attended church that I would
n’t dare to go. No places of amusements are offered at
the present time excepting the various billliard saloons
and gambling houses. of which there is quite a large
number.. I have not entered a gambling saloon since
I came here but from the large crowds I always
see within when passing I should judge that a
a large amount of money changes hands there. The
place is quite orderly I have not seen a fight or
quarrel since I came here..
The Court Martial meets almost every day. sits
down adjourns. gets up and quits ‘till next day. Not
a single case has been opened yet. although there is a
Havens Letter: October 6 1865 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: October 6 1865
Havens Letter: October 6 1865

large amount of work to be done. Our first case is
one of a soldier charged with murder and desertion.
Two other cases of murder are to be tried. It is a pitiful
sight to see the accused brought into court every day
heavily ironed both hands and feet. He is an inoffensive
looking person. and one would scarcely think him to be
such a hardened and crime stained wretch as he is
represented.
Changes in military affairs take place in Utah Colorado
quite as readily as they formerly did in Virginia and
create feelings very similar. The removal of Gen Connor
from the command of the District of the plains brings
with it other changes that materially changes the pros
pects of what remains of the old Michigan Cav. Brigade.
A new military district has been formed designated
as the Dist of Colorado and is now commanded by [Brevet?]
Maj. Gen Upton formerly commanding a division in the old
6th Army Corps who releived Col. Potter of the Colorado Cav..
Gen. Connor proceeds to Utah to take command of that
Dist. or Dept. and Col Potter accompanies him to assume
a subordinate command. And now comes the pith
of the thing. The 1st. 6th and 7th Mich regiments
are ordered to Fort Bridger Utah. On their arrival there
all men whose term of service [illegible in original] prior to Feb. 1st 1866
will be discharged and the remainder consolidated
into one organization
Havens Letter: October 6 1865 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: October 6 1865
Havens Letter: October 6 1865

Of course some of the officers of each organization
will be mustered out. but as no official list has been
published. I can not say who the lucky or unlucky ones
are to be. According to all accounts Utah is a very
pleasant place to spend the remainder of ones old
days in. although there will be some rough places
to pass before getting there. If the government sees fit
to discharge me here I will forgive it what hard
knocks I have received during the past three years. but
on the other hand. if it sees fit to retain me in the service
and take me to Salt Lake. I will never forgive it
and for the sake of “[spiting?]” some one will never ask for
a leave of absence. or tender my resignation. as long as
I live and will remain in the service until they
kick me out of it. Those officers of our regiment now
here on duty at this Court Martial who are chosen to
remain in the service. will remain until the business
now before it is completed or the court dissolved. before
they report to the regiment. and as a great number
of them have been through the mill before. they will
prolong the matter as long as possible. What will
be done by those ordered to muster out. I can not
say.
Havens Letter: October 6 1865 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: October 6 1865
Havens Letter: October 6 1865

It will probably be New Years before any
one gets home. The consolidation is going to give much
disatisfacton. for various reasons. [Brivet?] Brig. Gen. Stagg.
Col. of the 1st is to be retained as Colonel of the new organizaton
the majority of men and officers in all the regiments
would have preferred “Our Briggs” who has won his way
into the hearts of all by his bravery in the field. his good
control of his men and his thousand and one qualities
as a perfect gentleman.. Wherever he goes he is greeted with
enthusiasm by all. and I know that the men of the “Seventh”
will never be as good under any other commander as they
have been or would be under “Little Briggs.” With Stagg
it is quite the reverse. No one respects him. He has
proved himself unworthy of the respect of even the worst men
in the ranks.
But I will close with my congratulations
for your good success in your farming and good
wishes for your welfare in future. Remember
me to all. Love to Father and Mother
Your Brother
Edwin R Havens
Address
Member G.C.M.
Denver C T. It would be impossible to procure Harry’s
descriptive list. Tell him to write to Capt Fisher
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