Havens Letter: March 4 1863


Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: March 4, 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 4 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: March 4 1863
Havens Letter: March 4 1863

[Begin Scan 1]

Camp on Meridian Hill in sight
of Washington. March 4th 1863

Dear Nell
Here I come at you again. You will see by
the heading of this letter that we have made our second move
and we now find ourselves on a high hill about 2 ½ miles
from the Capitol and enjoying the most beautiful scenes one
could wish to see: A little to the right of us we can see
all of the city of Washington. the Potomac. Georgetown
and all the different camps around the city..
As I wrote in the other sheet some of our
boys came here Monday and set up a part
of our tents. and the rest of us came out here
yesterday morning in as fine a morning as one
could wish for but we had scarcely set our foot
in our tents when it commenced to snow great
snowballs as big as your fist. then it would rain
awhile then shine. and each sucessively all day..
At night it froze as hard as a rock.
and this morning the ground was dry
and pleasant again.. The wind is whistling through
the camp shaking the tests and strongly reminding
us of old Michigan.. So far we have had warm
days and very cold nights..
Havens Letter: March 4 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: March 4 1863
Havens Letter: March 4 1863

We are in small “A” tents calculated for
four in a tent.. In mine are my two corporals
Newt Sparks and myself. I was almost
afraid to go to sleep last night as the ground
was wet. but we have a large officers tent cloth
and an armful of hay for a bed with plenty of
blankets and slept as sweetly as though
I reposed in our old bed at home. Our sick are
cared for and are now in good comfortable
hospitals. Our horses stand but a few feet from
our tents. without shelter of any kind. They
bore the journey well.. I lost my little nag
somewhere on the road. and yesterday morning
was obliged to “cramp” another one.. I do not
think him quite so good as the other but is still
a good one.. We get but little news here. and
know nothing of what is going on outside of
our own limits and am not very well posted
in what is going on within them: I believe our
regiment is not yet brigaded.. We are in Gen Casey’s
division and under his control.. I have not yet
seen him that I know of.. I saw one Brig. Gen in
Washington on Monday.. We are encamped
near a regt of infantry and also near a large
hospital: This hospital was formerly a fine large
residence with splendid grounds about it.
Havens Letter: March 4 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: March 4 1863
Havens Letter: March 4 1863

Here we begin to see the effects of this war..
Large palaces once filled with all that one could wish
to make him comfortable and contented now sit here
deserted or used for army purposes. and filled with
sick and wounded soldiers or army stores. One can
not visit these places without ^ feeling of heart sickness
coming over him.
There is but little more of military life
to be seen here than in Niles or Grand Rapids.
We occasionally see army wagons with their
four horses all driven by one line Hoosier fashion
the driver seated on the near wheel horse..
When we go into the city we see the streets
filled with them and one can scarcely hear him
self think for the noise they make.
Were it not for the public buildings Washing
ton would be far inferior in point of beauty to
Kalamazoo or even Niles.. The streets are wider
the stores and shops of plain bricks and not
so full the whole presenting a dirty black
appearance. The streets are filled to overflowing
with gaily dressed ladies and military officers..
Yet although I said gaily dressed the ladies do
not go to extremes as much as those of Grand Rapids
nor put on so much “style”. The officers too. many
of them do not dress quite so flashy as a few
corporals I have seen.
Havens Letter: March 4 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: March 4 1863
Havens Letter: March 4 1863

But by this time you are becoming
weary of reading so much of uninteresting
scribbling and my fingers begin to feel as
if they were all thumbs..
I can not and dare not form any opin
ion about the length of time we shall remain
here.. The 5th & 6th Mich Cavalry have just returned
from a chase after Stuart’s cavalry. I can
not say what success they had.. But I hardly
think they had as good success as Corp Brickell
and I did last night in our dash on the
“Sway Backs” We killed 12 without the loss of
a man and slept well over our exploits.
being free from their nightly attacks on our
poor tortured bodies.. Those that I caught
were about as large as a half grown kitten..
and were slaughtered ruthlessly..
But enough of this. I shall begin soon
to expect a letter from home. and I hope
it will be longer than the moral law..
Answer this as soon as you get it
directing to Washington D.C. Give my
love to everybody and tell them all
to write great fat letters to
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