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Havens Letter: June 15 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: June 15, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 11
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 11
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

On Picket on Sawyer’s Road
June 15th 1863

Dear Brother Nell.
We are at our
old business again. “Picket” Our
line is on a road running parallel.
with the [Aldea?] “pike” that is to say
East and West and is about three
miles in length. It is a very pleas
ant road for peaceful times but
is somewhat lonesome, as it would
be dangerous were many rebs around
The left of it a mile in length
runs through a dense pine grove. and
it was in here that “Old Moseby”
attacked a picket releif of the “Sixth”
a week ago.. One tree still bears
the mark of a ball fired by some
of his men.. We came upon duty
at noon yesterday and will be
releived tomorrow..
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

I hear today that the remainder
of our regiment moved here yesterday,
and that all of our halt, lame and
blind are now with us.. Our regimen
tal Head Quarters have also been moved
here.. Although the whole of our brigade
is now on duty in this section Genl
Copeland still has his Head Quarters
at Fairfax C.H.
I have made up my mind
that we shall do “picket” the remain
der of our term of service at any rate
so long as we remain in the “Defences
of Washington” and I now think that
our camp is permanently established
so good bye. to fun and be ready
for picket duty.. I have not seen
a paper for two or three days.
I have been told that yesterday [S?]
papers gave accounts of a cavalry
fight in the Shenandoah
Valley a day or two ago in which
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

the rebs lost seven killed and
several wounded. The numbers of
rebs engaged was estimated at three
hundred. but I have not learned our
numbers. Reports from the
“Grand Army of the Potomac” repre
sent Lee on this side of the Rap
pahannock with sixty thousand
men and Hooker at Centerville.
The wagon trains of the “12th army
corps are reported at Fairfax C.H. today
I hate to beleive this but am afraid
it is so.. Lee has been very active for
sometime and I beleive Hooker has
been watching his plans and move
ments and if he has fallen back it
is only for the purpose of drawing
him on our own ground.. There
is nothing either between this place
and the Rappahannock that I
consider worth fighting very hard
for. it is of no benefit to either
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

army. Hooker is reported to have
been marching two days and
nights, and will perhaps make a
stand in the fortifications at
Centerville and Manassas Junction
Those at Manass Junction are
the more extensive but not so
strong and having been unoccupied
for a long time are in need of repairs
but a few hours labor by yankee
soldiers will make them stronger
than ever.. Those at Centerville if
manned by 20,000. determined
men can hold twice that number
at bay. Large and strong fortifi
cations have been lately built at
Alexandria. and Hooker may
intend to fall back upon them.
It is evidently Lee’s intention
to carry out his long threatened and
I beleive long cherished plan.
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

Namely: “Carry this war onto
northern soil and Maryland may ere
the winter months come again bathe
its soil in american blood..
I must confess that things do
look dark and gloomy.. Grant’s
long delay in taking Vicksburg.
Rosecrans and Burnsides apparent
inactivity and Hookers retreat are all
somewhat discouraging. Yet “the dark
est hour is always just before the
dawn.” and my long and oft-repeated
intention of spending next winter at home
may yet be true.. My confidence in
the perpetuity of the Union. the
Constitution and the Flag is as
unshaken as ever.. Though you nor
I may never live to see the day I
beleive these states will never be dis
united but again be more strongly
united than ever, and, too without
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

that bone of contention Slavery
between them.. It is plain to be seen
that the rebels are pushing the
fighting and I think their situation
demands it.. Lee is said to have 90,000
men now under his command and
the people of the South demand that
he shall use them. From all accounts
they are poorly fed and poorly clothed
and too, their country affords but an
insufficient amount of supplies. and
those they must have. I hope, if he
thinks to get them from the north
he will have a jolly time getting
them. All the soldiers we have
captured say that they are obliged
to furnish their own clothes. and
have to pay enormous sums for
them. and they are a motley looking
crew I tell you. No two are dressed
alike and seldom do we find them
armed alike.
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

Some of them are quite jovial
and love jokes as well as our selves..
While those taken on Tuesday last
were entering the cars at Bealeton.
they would call out “Fall in here
Grey Backs. Butternuts” and other
titles given them in derision by our
soldiers.
The days are warm. but
the nights quite cold. and it is
very dry. One peculiarity of this
climate is that we never have
any dews. I have not seen any dew
this summer. This makes it more
agreeable for us when obliged, as we often
are to sleep without tents.
What few pieces of corn and wheat
or oats that we see look badly on ac
count of the drouth. Fruit will
be quite plenty and if we remain here
this summer and fall we shall
revel among all kinds of fruit
Havens Letter: June 15 1863 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: June 15 1863
Havens Letter: June 15 1863

Cherries are beginning to ripen and
I even had a piece of very green Huckle
berry pie. very scant of sugar this morn
ing. Chestnut trees are very plenty as
are also. Walnuts. hickory nuts and the
like.. We are constantly cautioned to
be on the alert and expect fun at
any time.. Whatever Lee does he must
do Quickly. We have heard some
cannonading to day but not severe
enough to carry the idea of a general
engagement.. We are not more than
ten miles from Centreville and may
ere long hear the booming of hostile
cannon. and we may too have a chance
to see the “Elephants” ourselves. If we
dont now we never shall.. I spoke of
rumors concerning our regiment in my last..
I do not like to repeat such things but
will depart from my fixed rule in this
instance.. Gov Blair (as you, perhaps, already
know) has been visiting our brigade and
speaking to the 5th & 6th and the rumor
has arisen that he has found that our state
has received no credit for our regiment and that
no allowance will be made for us in the
coming draft. but that Michigan will
be compelled to furnish men according to the
quota of last fall before our regt was raised
Gov. Blair is consequently quite wroth and
theatens to recall us and fill up our ranks
himself or disband us. Although I do not
credit this, many do, and some men in
the regt offer to lay large sums that we are
in Michigan within the next 60 days. Many
Side reports are circulated to prove this which
I will not now repeat.. You need’n’t expect
me home very soon. If disbanded they will
never draft me.. If any thing important
occurs I will write you again in a few
days. My Love to all
E R Havens
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