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Havens Letter: March 2 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: March 2, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 8
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 8
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: March 2 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: March 2 1863
Havens Letter: March 2 1863

Soldierr Retreat Washington. D.C.
March 2nd /63

Dear Brother Nell.
It has been but few days
since I wrote you all, yet having a few moments
leisure time I will again Send you a few lines.
We still remain in the camp (if Such it
can be called) where we were put on coming here.
The weather is good. clear. warm. and much
like May in Michigan yet the streets are full
of mud. and mud is every where. The grass
in the parks about the Capitol. and on the
hill sides begins to start and looke quite green.
and the buds on the trees begin to swell some..
and I think that un in a few days we shall
have Spring here. I am in very good health
for which I am truly thankful. but not so
with many of our boys. the change is telling
on them quite severely. While I write one poor
fellow lies at my left hand sick with the
chill fever and but a little ways past him
lies my bunkmate sick with a disease
strongly resembling consumption and
near him lies several more sick with colds
mumps and various other minor complaints
Havens Letter: March 2 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: March 2 1863
Havens Letter: March 2 1863

In our present unsettled state it is im
possible to provide for them as they should be ..
But we hope ere this time tomorrow to have a
comfortable place for them. This morning the
Colonel ordered a detail of 20 men from each
company to go to the ground and prepare the ground
for us and the rest will probably go tomorrow..
This morning Newt Sparks and I went
out on a pass to the sights.. We first went to the
Capitol and explored that much more thoroughly
than on my hurried visit last Friday.. One can walk
through the many halls and aisles from the basement
to the dome for days and see something new and
interesting at every turn. In wandering through
them one imagines himself in some fabled halls
of old. such as Sylvanus Cobb so loves to describe.
yet no one can form any idea of its magnificence
from any ongoing or written description I ever
saw.. One must see to appreciate and while
going through it we often wished we could have
all our friends with us that they might enjoy
hours
it with us.. We remained there nearly two months
and then took a street car for the White House
a mile away. This is a building much larger
than any we ever saw in Michigan. But as
we did not enter it we can say nothing
about it.. It being about dinner time we
began to look about for some oysters
Havens Letter: March 2 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: March 2 1863
Havens Letter: March 2 1863

We found a saloon and were soon swallowing
the nicest ones I ever ate.. None of your little puny, dried
up ones, but large fat ones about as big as one of
Mothers biscuits.. I begin to like them now.
This was about all Newt could stand and soone after
he left me to return to camp.. As I hadnt
seen all of the city I didnt. I walked around for
a while and finally struck out for the Patent Office
of which I have heard so much. This is a building
covering an entire square and covering an area
of 2 to 3 acres. but its architecture is not nearly so
costly as the Capitol.. I was there some two hours and
saw only one room about 30 by 100 ft.. The first thing
on entering was a model of the Washington Monument
built
which is to be raised by subs contributions. It will be
a splendid thing when finished.. A little ways from
there was a case containing a large amount of Wash
ingtons clothing and camp equippage.. There were
his sword which he carried during the revolution. his camp
chest. cooking utensils.. chairs. tent poles and various
articles too numerous to mention.. Another case contained
his tent cloth. cabinet. with setts of china and
other articles another contained the vest and pants
of buckskin which he wore at the time of resigning
his commission at Annapolis in Maryland.
of
The pants were ^ the half legged fashion
and both had large, flat, brass button
with flap pockets..
Havens Letter: March 2 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: March 2 1863
Havens Letter: March 2 1863

In another case was the coat which he
wore at the same time a panel from his
couch. and various articles. One can not look upon
these things without feeling his heart swell with
gratitude towards him. and make his deter
mination firmer to fight for ever to sustain
the freedom which he fought eight years to build.
Another interesting feature was the presents
made to Buchanan by the Japanese embass
dors during their visit here.. One case contained
the fifteen silken robes of various colors and fashions
looking like nothing that I could describe; another
contained the swords, saddles, bridles stirrups and
horse trappings which far outshone anything I ever
saw.. I wish you could be here a few days to
visit these places. yet it would be rather provoking to
know that you had not money enough to buy hardly
a chip.. Some of the pillars in the capitol cost
$8000. each and many of them much more.
Some are of pure white emarble others are of
Turkish
the Potomac Marble which is formed of all
kinds of stones petrified into one solid substance
and presenting a curious appearance when
carved and polished.. Many of the stair ways
are built of the same..
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