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Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: December 21, 1862
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
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: December 21 1862 (2)
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 1

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

No 16th

Lee Barracks
December 21st, 1862

Dear Nell,
I received your most truly
welcome letter last night, and although I
had been to the city with a squad to attend
the theater, and it was then nearly midnight
I could not rest till I had read both
Mothers and yours.
I am truly thankful for the five dol
lars it contained, But not for that alone
was it welcome. A letter I find to be one
nt
of the most necessary things for our enjoyme
here. I fear that I shall have to spend
Christmas and perhaps New Years in the
old camp. You can not be any more dis
appointed than I am. But I will now
tell you the reason I am detained here.
It is against the regulations of the army to
allow more than two Sergeants of a company
to be absent on furlough. Two Sergts. of our
company are already absent on furloughs,
and so of course I must stay. But I
think that perhaps I shall come soon
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 2

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

I dont know whether any of our boys will
go home or not now. Newt may possibly
come tomorrow, but none of the others.
There is some talk of our getting our pay
on next pay day which will be next week.
I hope this may be so, still "there's many
a slip twixt cup and lip," and this may
be one of them, at any rate I shall not build
very high hopes upon it.
Our horses keep coming in every day, and we
now have perhaps 200 on hands. They have been
divided up and assigned in lots to each company
according to the number of men in each
company. Our company has 23 to take care
of. The majority of them are excellent ones, and
but few poor ones can be found among them.
They are from 14 to 15 hands high, young, strong
made ones, and mostly of dark colors. Duns and
creams are used for buglers to ride. A few iron
grays are amongst them. We have to groom
them at morning and noon, and feed them corn
At night they are fed hay, and watered at
morning and night. We have to water at the
river nearly a mile, which makes a very good
exercise for both men and horses.
They are at present fed upon half rations,
six pounds of corn at a mess, and I think
ten pounds of hay.
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 3

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

We have very good stables for them
those used by the 6th and we are furnished
with the best of combs and brushes to groom
them with. Each man is furnished with a
comb, brush, blanket, surcingle, halter and water
ing bridle. The watering bridles consist of a
pair of reins and snaffle bit which loops into
the halter. No saddles or bridles will be
issued until every man has learned to mount
and ride without one. We had a sergeants
drill on horseback Friday morning without
saddles, each one having a blanket and watering
bridle. It was quite amusing, some of them
could not ride on a trot and one poor fellow
while trotting rolled off into the snow from
as gentle a horse as one could ask for.
We tried to mount from the ground once
We all got off in line and Col Litchfield showed
us how and then we tried it. I had a noble
fiery little animal that wouldnt stand quite
still, taken together with the fact that I spring
like a maple log made my attemps to mount
ineffectual. The Col. watched my attempts some
time and then kindly came and helped me
on as he did one other. Good joke on the
Col.! hey! But I have tried a few times since
and improve very fast for I can jump on
if raised about a foot.
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 4

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

I am writing this in the guard house
not as a prisoner but as a sergt. of the guard.
We poor sergts. have to take it now three of us each
day. It is now ten O’clock Sunday night and I sit
by a table with two others near me talking, but you
know I am no hand to talk, and as I have a good
place to write I dont know but I may write all night
Would you like to know how things are conducted in
camp. I will try to tell you. You know how a company
is formed so I will pass that. In the morning at six
O’clock the bugler sounds the “revellie” when every man must
get up and form into line near their quarters for roll call,
immediately afterwards they go in, fold up their blankets, lay
them away and sweep out the halls between the rows of bunks
After that those who take care of the horses get their combs
and brushes and go to the stables to see to their horses and
feed them. A veterinary sergeant accompanies each company
and examines each horse finds such fault and gives such instruc
tions as he thinks proper. The rest of the men to go to the creek
and wash. Then comes our breakfast, after which the grooms
go and water the horses and others attend to guard mounting
Each Orderly Sergt. receives an order from the sergt. Major of
the regt. to detail a number of men for guard duty propor
tioned to the number of men he has reported fit for duty.
These men he details in alphabetical succession and from
among those who have been absent from roll call more than once
and have otherwise transgressed the rules of regt. or company.
These men he forms into a line or colum on the company parade
ground and at the Adjutants call from the budle marches
them to the parade ground of the guard or regt. where he reports
and
to the sergt. Major his detail. The corporals ^ sergeants are
detailed from the companies in succession or at the
will of the Sergt. Major who also chooses one from among the
duty Sergts of some company for Officer of the guard.
Guard mounting is generall performed at 8[?] oclock A M
after the ceremony of review is finished the guard is marched
to the guards quarters where they are divided into three
lots or “reliefs” and a corporal placed in command
of each. the corporal of the first relief then relieves the old
guard while the second is sent to the guard quarters
and the third dismissed till wanted.
At eight A M is surgeons call, when those who
are sick go to the examination room and get medicine,
if th [Do?] thinks necessary. If any are too ill for duty
he gives them a certificate or excuse from duty
for such time as he thinks fit. If an are very ill
they go to hospital.
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 5

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

No 16th
At nine the bugle sounds
the first drill call when the companies
on
prepare for drill by forming ^ the company
parades. At 9:15, the second drill call is
sounded when the companies march to the
drill ground and drill until about eleven.
Between 11 and 12, drill in the manual of
arms for the Sergts. at 12 dinner, at half past
12, the horses have to be groomed and fed
1:30, recall from stable duty when the men
come from the stables and prepare for drill
at 1:55, fall in and drill until 33:10, when
we must prepare for dress parade, the men
all dressed alike, and clothes clean and neat as
possible. After dress parade the horses watered
and fed hay. Supper is sometimes eaten
before dress parade and sometimes not until
after the horses are taken care of. At sundown,
on dress parade the roll is called and every
absentee is”pricked” At half past eight
another roll is called and at 9 lights
are blowed out and every one supposed to
be abed, but they “aint”
And this is our routine daily with but little
variation from day to day as we are detailed for
some special duty.
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 6

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

We have not got thoroughly broken in to
these duties yet. Many of our men have been working
building barracks and that together with the large
drain on us for guard duty has almost entirely
broken up the drill, and I think until the
regiment is filled up more there will be but little
drilling done, but throwing it to one side there is yet
enough left for one to do to keep him stirring all of
the time.
The Sergeant of the guard is not a very laborious
post, the hardest part is being up all of the time. He
has to see that the reliefs are got out at the proper
time and that is about all. I shall probably lay
down and go to sleep before morning but I
want to write about two hours yet.
I wrote you some time ago that I had drawn
my rifle. It was but for a short time, on Thursday
last we were ordered to return them. Yesterday
morning however we were supplied with another
lot although of the same kind. We have them distrib
uted in the company and each private corporal
and sergeant has one. Our Lieut says that it is
understood among the officers that these guns are
to be used only for drill, that Col. Mann has
said that a number of the best revolving rifles
expressly
are being manufactured ^ for this regiment. I dont
know whether to hope so or not.
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 7

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

As to that letter from Will Graham
to John Alexander you would think we were
“tuff” if you could see us eat once. Bull beef
is what we live on. It was a great pity to kill
some animals that we have eaten, they would
have made good working cattle for they were awful
tough, a good slice would last a man all day.
But I guess you are getting tired, so I
will begin to stop, as it is nearly 12 Oclock.
Have you told George Lee to answer my letter
If not I want you to immediately, for it is
now at least three weeks since I wrote him.
How I would like to be there Tuesday and
Friday evenings, and I should like to see the
party at Union Hall, Christmas Eve, but no
three dollars have I got to spare, and I should
think they would be scarce. But I suppose I
can not be there and must be contented. But
I may be home in the course of a month but do
not look for me and no one will be disappointed.
I shall endeavor to keep all the five dollars in
case I should have the good luck to use it in
that manner, otherwise I shall try to use it so
that it will be a benefit.
Our regimental officers tell us that the regt.
will be full by the first of January, and I have
heard it so often that I almost beleive it.
I hope so
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2), Page: 8

Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)
Havens Letter: December 21 1862 (2)

Well here I am on the eighth page and you
are getting tired. How I wish I could see you
I would talk you to sleep. But when I have
said this you will say “Ed is homesick”
To confess the truth, I do feel so when I think
of the many good things that will be ready for
me Wednesday evening and the gloomy faces of
Father, Mother, and Nell, when instead of me they
see but a small brown package. But do not
blame any one. The nature of things demand
that I should stay and it would not be sol
dierly for me to complain.
What is that joke you spoke of, please
write it down and send it along.
Our Camp has been changed in name
to Lee Barracks and you will direct your
future letters accordingly.
Write soon and if possible come
and see us soon. Get Father and Mother
to have their pictures taken and send to me.
A merry Christmas and a happy
New Years to all.
Good night
Edwin R Havens

Write soon
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