Title

Havens Letter: January 16 1864 (2)

Back

Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: January 16, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 18
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 1, Folder 18
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864, Page: 1

Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864
Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864

Office A.D.M. 2nd Brig
3d Division Cavalry Corps
Stevensburg Va
January 16th/64
Dear Brother Nell.
When you perceive this big
sheet of paper and splendiferous and high sounding
flourish in opening. I expect you will think Ed. has
struck. a vein and is prepared to announce to the world
and mankind in general that he is “somebody.” But
you will find yourself sadly disappointed. ‘Tis true that
this afternoon I am the sole occupant of the aforesaid
office. but I am still very far from being at the head of
the concern.. But you may begin to wonder what I am
going to tell you about it, and having gone far enough
I will say this. Capt Wells the incumbent of this office is
absent in Washington on a leave of absence. Mr. Beau
his head clerk has gone to Brandy Station on a pleasure
ride and being a kind of office sweep dog whipper & c.
alias: Second Clerk in the above named concern I am
left alone. in the office and Knowing of no more agreeable
occupation I concluded to employ the time in answer
ing your most welcome and looked for communication
which was received last evening and on looking around
the establishment for paper I could find none excepting
of this Kind: So now you have the whole history of the
matter: I scarcely Know what to write you
as news is very scarce with us. We do nothing ourselves
and seeing no papers hear nothing of what others are
doing. There is a Philadelphia Enquirer before me
bearing date of January befor 14th whose headlines promise
something interesting but I don’t feel in any humor for
reading this afternoon and so I know nothing of its con
tents. Letters from friends are the only communications
Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864, Page: 2

Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864
Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864

I receive from the world in which human beings
are supposed to live and which I can faintly remem
ber. Nearly a year has elapsed since I last visited
home and as we left Michigan soon after we have seen
but little of civilization since then. and that seen
as it was. under new circumstances seems but a dream
as we look back upon it.. Our campaign through
Maryland an Pennsylvania showed us a glimpse of that
life so many of us have left. But I can not make it seem
that it was really civil life we saw there.. We were
soldiers and our customs. duties and privileges were so
different that everything seemed to partake of the same
character. The fields of waving grain; the ripening wheat.
and green, growing corn did not seem like those we
left in Michigan. and I can scarcely believe that we
seen
have ^ civilization since leaving home. This may.
perhaps. conflict with some one of my letters written
during, or immediately after that eventful period, but do
not think it strange. I have still visions of peaceful,
quiet. farmhouses. surrounded by their fields of rich
growing growing grain. and it is possible that the
latest are those of Pennsylvania and Maryland instead
of our own Noble State.. I have been the recipient of many
Kindnesses from the Noble citizens of those states and
I can assure that they distinctly separated from
those received in Michigan and will ever remain so
Time has flown swiftly and although it is
now eleven months since I saw any of you it does
not seem half so long as that. This does not remind
me of January in any manner whatever. We have beautiful,
clear, sunny days scarcely even cold enough to make it
necessary to wear an overcoat or gloves.. The roads are
quite solid. with an inch or two of soft mud on the
surface. We have had an inch or two of snow which is
Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864, Page: 3

Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864
Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864

now fast disappearing under this warm sun; This is
strongly in contrast with the weather of which you and
others speak of in letters from home. Friday and Satur
day. January 1st & 2nd will be remembered by many through
out the United States as the two coldest days thus far ex
here
perienced this winter.. Such was the case ^ and I can
not now call to memory any more biting cold day
in Mich. than was New Years. afternoon. The morning
broke clear and sunny. the roads were soft and muddy to
the depth of about four feet or less. and the air was
mild and pleasant. As we were busy building winter
quarters. . we were set to [work?] that morning at a job
which would ordinarily have taken one man half a
day to have performed.. with the soothing and encourag
ing promise that when that was finished we could
do something else. Another thing which was
calculated to stifle the rebellious feelings surging in
our breasts at having to work thus on a “holiday” was
a gentle “blessing” bestowed upon us by Capt Wells.
one of the many that are so readily bestowed upon
soldiers by those. “clothed in a little brief authority”
and permitted to mean “shoulder stripes”. The “boys”
grumbled and would have sworn. had it not been
that we had mutually agreed not to swear any during
[illegible in original] while I made a slight effort to calm them
and get the work done. although I didn’t feel over
obedient myself; But presently the climax was capped
when on going to the Capt to procure some tools which
were necessary. he commenced “ventilating” my ideas
by means of the “blowing machine” he so often made
use of. He succeeded in getting my “ideas” cleared
up some I notice and settingling my self back. not
as Rhoderic Dhu did against. a rock. but against
a building I opened a [fin?] from the battery of my

Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864, Page: 4

Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864
Havens Letter: January 16 (2) 1864

my wrath and indignation which soon completely and
effectually silenced him and never has he since that time
ventured to give us a cross word.. We finished that piece of
work and then took “New Years” and now comes the
story which I commenced to tell some two or three pages back
We had decided on having an Oyster Supper that night at
our shanty. and also decided that Will Graham should
be invited to attend.. and I was “detailed” to go to the regiment
and invite him down. When I left our camp the wind was
just rising and it was a little colder than when we finished
our work. I started back from the regt just as the sun was
going down.. and found that it had grown cold at a fearful
rate. and coming near home I was obliged to expose one side
of my face to the wind and in going 20 rods. froze one side
of my nose. (the most exposed portion of my body, because
the largest) till it felt much as Melindas must have
done when she shut hers in the door. The night and
next day was equally as cold and we did’nt do much
Ill bet. The upshot of my quarrel with the Capt.
was that one of his clerks leaving him next day with
the 1st Mich Cavalry. he offered me the post and I accep
me
ted it. and although very fiery he has not given ^ a cross
word or look since nor to one of the boys. He has a
cousin. a citizen. for a chief clerk. to whom the Govern
ment pays 75.Dollars per month. His name: Beau
implies at the same time his significance or importance
in this “Mundane Sphere”. I was always brought up to follow
some one else’ directions. and guidance. and therefore
find it an easier matter than many do. But I always
like to feel that my leader or instructor knows more
about his business than I do.. Do not think that
by saying this I mean to insinuate that he cant learn
me anything? No man is so old or so wise that he can
not learn a few things. and perhaps. from the very ones
whom he thought least capable of instructing him
Contact us with Questions or Comments