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Havens Letter: February 19 1865

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: February 19, 1865
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 5
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 5
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 1

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

Camp Russell Va.
Sunday Feb..y 19th 65.

Dear. Brother Nell.
Again I am
seated pen in hand and just begin
ning to launch out in one of my
semi-occasionals. It has been
but two or three days since I wrote
you a letter longer than the
Moral law which I firmly deter
mined should be the last I would
write home until I should receive
a letter from there. But alas!
ed
The determination has become destroy^
and I am now letting off some of
my pent up gas.. There are
several reasons why I am now
writing and bothering you with
this letter. One is I am com
to. stay
pelled ^ in camp so closely that
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 2

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

that I need some excitement
and must write to some one
and I dont like to impose on
everyone enough to keep writing
to those out of the family. And then
I have no postage stamps and can
make you pay for your infor
mation which is no small satis
faction to me I assure you.
am
Nell. I ^ homesick. or sick
of home and. friends I dont know
which exactly. and I’m now
darned sorry I got that furlough
Before then I used to hear from
home and friends at least once
a fortnight but a month has
now passed since I was there
and no one has thought it
worth their pains to write
me a letter. I’m darned if
I dont beleive I’ll enlist with
Custer for five years. take my
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 3

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

thirty days furlough and
go to Washington or New York
and not go where I can find
a single soul who knows me and
never set my foot in Michigan again..
There is’n’t much to write
about here almost no [illegible in original] news
whatever. A few days ago. one
hundred men and four officers
from our regiment were sent out
with a detachment from other regts
in the brigade on a scout or
“streak o’ nonsense..” They left
here at six O’clock P.M. Wednes
day and returned at midnight
of Thursday. They went up the
Shenandoah Valley as far as Edin
burgh where they encountered the
rebs pickets and made them
skedaddle. then the detachment
from our regt went through
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 4

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

a very narrow. dangerous pass
to Little Ford Valley where they burned
a furnace and some mills. They killed
one Johnny and captured several others
and some niggers. horses. and cattle.
It was a billious time for such a
move. as it was very cold and stormy
and they rode almost every minute
of the time making a little over
a hundred miles in 36 hours
which for a column of four hundred
men is “right smart” marching
On Thursday ten men belonging
1st
to the rebel fourth Va Cavalry came
into our lines a short distance
from Kerntown and gave them
selves up as deserters and said
the remainder of their regiment
would follow them as speedily
as possible. Friday a part of
Gen Custers division captured
nine officers of the 4th Va Cavalry.
and a large number of horses.
Every exertion is being made to
arm and equip the command and
have it ready to take the field at
a moments warning At no time
since the Battle of Gettysburgh has
our company been so well fitted
for the field as at the present. We
have now. 30 men ready for duty
and in good trim
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 5

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

Page 5

I hear no more concerning the
infantry reinforcements of which
I spoke in my last and can not
say whether the report is true or
false. I went to Winchester on
a “Spree” Thursday and made
inquiries there concerning the report
but no one knew anything about
it there. Had a very good time
going to Winchester. ran horses
and run one horse and rider
into the ground. got a tip top
dinner at a restaurant in town
sat for some Pretty graphs and
came back vey well pleased.
I found that I had the smartest
horse. in the lot. which pleased
me very much as it is a new
one and an inferior looking critter
but can out trot, outrun. and
out wind anything in my company
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 6

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

Two others went down with me
Sergt Major F.B. Clark and Sergt
Wm Jackson two first rate chaps and
both my traveling companions going
home. In the evening being alone. (my
tent mate on picket) they came down
together with Sergt Crane another of
my travelling companions homeward
bound and we had a jolly good time
Oysters cards. etc. and I beleive it was
3 O.clock Friday morning when I went
to bed.. but Clark (who stayed “over night”
with me) had a letter to write to his
“inamorata” for the morning mail and
later
did not come to bed for an hour earlier
We thought we had a “big time”
but Friday night someone beat
us clean out of sight. It is a
favorite amusement of all, officers
and men. to snow ball and we enjoy
it as much as when we were school
boys. Friday we had a heavy
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 7

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

fall of soft. wet snow and in
the evening all had a “huge”
snowballing. Well it was late
when I turned in. Eleven at least
being compelled to wait up for
the mail which does not arrive until
very late. As a matter of course I
was sleepy. but could not from
some unaccountable reason get to
sleep for nearly an hour.. I had been
dozing for some time when my slum
bers were ruthlessly broken in upon
by some strange sounds which after
becoming fully awake I concluded
were being made by a loose horse
who had taken the liberty to rub
himself on our door for which I..
of course. felt indignant and got
up to drive him off. Our door..
unlike civilized doors, opens out
wards so raising the latch I gave
it a push. but found my efforts

Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 8

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

resisted and putting my hand out
to ascertain the cause ran it into
a huge snowball. which some
mischievous soldier had rolled against
it. I “smelt a rat” and quietly went
back to bed. Lieut Crocker was Officer
of the Day and it was his duty to see
that all officers were up at Reveillie
and I supposed it was some of the
officers who proposed having a
joke on him by blockading his shanty
Soon after going back to bed I heard
the rascals around the door and [illegible in original]
making up we held a council of war
over the matter and decided to lay
quiet and let circumstances develop
themselves. Knowing we were awake
and having a little fire they tried
smoking us out by throwing snow down
the chimney and giggling heartily over
their fun. Finally Crocker proposed to
me to get his revolver, which I did,
when he fired it at the Gable end
of the shanty. near the chimney which
caused quite a scampering outside.
Presently they returned to the attack
and amused themselves by pelting
the roof of our shanty with snow
balls.
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 9

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

Page 9

We had decided to let them
work to suit themselves and lay
quiet until they had got through
when we shook the snow off the
tent. But they were not satisfied
yet so concluded to try a torch
light procession and procuring a
candle marched once or twice
around the shanty and with
a farewell volley of snow balls
retired. When the bugle sounded
Revellie the next morning I got
up but could not get out until
one of the boys came and dug
the snow away from the door.
But I was more surprised to
find that every officer was in
a like or worse fix but ignorant
of it until they attempted to get
out.. Their servants whose shanties
are in rear of the officers were
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 10

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

also penned in and had to be
dug out. At first we were puzzled
to mistrust who it could be. but
when we saw Major Warren. who
is in command and who never
was before known to get up before
nine o’clock up and hustling
around swearing at the officers
for being so tardy.Suspicion at
once attached itself to him and
by pumping Clark a little yesterday
I learned enough to satisfy me that
it originated at Head Quarters. It was
a big joke but is only [illegible in original] for
the occasion I think..
Last night the 6th were having
a huge old time at snow ball.
The whole regiment was engaged
and were doing it very prettily
Today nothing has occurred
We had Sunday morning
inspection at ten Oclock
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 11

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

and are to have monthly
inspection by Inspector Gen of
Division at Two P.M. tomorrow
Sim Stephens came over to our
camp yesterday and made
quite a visit among the boys. as
he found more here that he had
known than he expected..
I had a letter from Newt Sparks
a few days ago. in which he told
me about the joke they had been
trying to play on me. but I wont
tell it now.
We received a communi
cation a few days since from
Parole Camp at Annapolis in
forming us that the man who
was taken prisoner at the same
time that Allen Park was had
been paroled and was there but it
said nothing concerning Allen
I am in hopes that some one
Havens Letter: February 19 1865, Page: 12

Havens Letter: February 19 1865
Havens Letter: February 19 1865

will get a letter from him soon
and that we may learn something
about Al. As yet I know nothing
more than I did when home.
Well Graham. Chet. Calvin John
Alexander and all the rest of the
boys here are well and hearty.
We are expecting the Pay master
this week to pay us four months
wages but which will do me but
very little good as I have had
my four months pay and spent
it and can not draw any more
till next month. But as I have
a little left. and some of the boys
are owing me some I think I shall
be able to get along very well. If I
do not get a chance to get the pay
for my horse before we break camp
in the spring I think I shall send
the voucher home and have you
keep it till I come home or in case
I should never come home you can
take or send it to Washington and
draw the money on it. When you
cant find anything to do and imagine
that I would like a few words from
home you may write to your
Independent Brother Ed
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