Havens Letter: February 1 1863


Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: February 1, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 7
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 7
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: February 1 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: February 1 1863
Havens Letter: February 1 1863

No 23rd

Lee Barracks
February 1st, 1863

Dear Father and Mother,
Although I have
not received an answer to my letter to Mother
nor a word from Father since I was home
yet feeling this afternoon as though I would
like to visit with you both and knowing no
better way than to write you I have seated
myself for that purpose. Although I would
like to visit I hardly know what to say or
where to begin to say it. The weather is gen
erally the first topic and I will speak
of that. Until now we have had the nicest
of winter weather with now and then a slight
storm. Today it is blowing “big guns” and
that with a vengeance. The snow to is fly
ing thick and fast giveing promise of snow
to cover the earth’s nakedness, which is becoming
most too uncomfortable to our sight.
Nell has been speaking of making us a
visit and should there come a good running
of sleighing I advise him to come without
delay, and as many more of you as can come
or want to.
Havens Letter: February 1 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: February 1 1863
Havens Letter: February 1 1863

One reason why I advise him to come soon
is that I think it is the intention to remove
this regiment from the state as soon as it can
possibly be effected. And, too, I think it the best
thing that can be done for the benefit of the
regiment, the state, and the country.
Should we remain here one month longer
I venture to predict that there will not be three
minimum companies on the ground. That is among
all the companies left, there will not be men
enough to make three minimum companies
of 79 men each. Men are deserting every night
and will probably continue to do so, so long
as we remain here. Four men left our company
Thursday night, Six on Friday night and
three more last night. These men leave on
the ground that they are unjustly retained
here. The refusal of our officers to grant fur
loughs and the delay in getting our pay are
the causes given for this step. Many of these
men will probably return to camp within
the next two weeks if let alone, others will never
come back. One of our Sergts. [O’Brien]
received orders and authority to arrest these
men where he could find them, and will
leave camp tomorrow morning for that
Havens Letter: February 1 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: February 1 1863
Havens Letter: February 1 1863

A great deal of fault is found
with Col. Mann and I have found a
good deal of fault with him too. But I
must say that I now think that he has
many times been unjustly accused.
My opinion of him now, is that he is a
kind, generous hearted men who has not only
his own, but the interests of his men at heart.
But he is also very impulsive and does
things and gives him orders, which, in his
calmer moments he is sorry for and many
of them he afterwards modifies or countermands.
This nature almost if not entirely unfits
him for the command of a number of men
as he can not exercise the amount of firmness
necessary to perfect discipline. Lieut Col.
Litchfield, Majors. Newcombe and Houston
are men, and men more fitted to the command
of troops than Col. Mann. Adjutant Doty
was formerly a first class School Teacher and
is probably the best educated of any of the
other Staff officers. He also weilds a great
deal of influence of over the Col. and is the
only officer in the regiment who does not re
ceive from three to five “blowings up” from
the Col. each week.
Havens Letter: February 1 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: February 1 1863
Havens Letter: February 1 1863

This is an awful day and makes me
feel as though I would like to be at home
sitting by the fire than here. But we
are comfortable here, and have nothing
of which we out to complain. There is nothing
I hate worse than taking care of horses but
there is no getting out of it however unless
one is sick enough to get a Surgeons excuse
and I am not quite so sick as to get that
yet. I still act as Commissary Sergt. and could
get back out of stable duty on that pretext
but I also retain command of my division of the
company and the Capt. expects me to go with them
unless actually engaged in drawing provisions
so that don’t screen me. As Commissary Segt. I
have to draw the rations for the company from the
Commissary of the regiment, draw requisitions, keep
accounts of all provisions drawn and not drawn.
This business is quite easy, and I would have
more time to rest if I did only this. But there are
so few men here to do the work and at present
but one Sergt. in the company liable to guard duty
or take charge of a squad at present. So that
whatever I can do I feel as though I ought to do it.
The work is hard and our time all occupied
yet it is interesting and I never feel like giving
up. It is about the only business I never get tired
of learning. We have Four evening schools
a week in the tactics or theory of our drill,
taught by our Adjutant who is respected by all
of the men. How I hope you will answer
this. You may think that I have so many letters
that you could write nothing to interest me
But you are mistaken. Nothing pleases me so much
as to have a letter to read and one from you could
never come too of ten for me. There is something
in the influence your letters wield over me that
makes them almost necessary, and if you could
feel as I do about them you could not help writing
With prayers for the blessings of health prosper
ity and Heaven upon you I remain your affec
tionate son
Edwin R Havens
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