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Havens Letter: June 17 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: June 17, 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 17 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

Picket Reserve for Sawyer’s
Road June 17th 1863

Dear Father and Mother
Your
most welcome letter was received at
dark last night and although
I have nothing of interest to write
I will answer it this morning.
I have a letter ready to send
away to Nell written two days
ago but as I cannot send it
until we are releived this will
that
reach you as soon as ^ it will.
The reports of the change of the
position of the Army of the Poto
mac are confirmed and the
12th Corps is now at Fairfax
C.H. and under marching
orders. Capt Walker received
a dispatch this morning say
Havens Letter: June 17 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

ing that the “army of the
Potomac would march past
us today on its way to take up
a new base.. Whether by this
it is meant that the whole
army or only the 2nd Corps
will march past I am unable
to say.. We heard yesterday
heavy cannonading in the
direction of Washington but
beleive it to have been only the
usual Tuesday target practice
within the “Defences of Washing
ton.” as it is carried on, on Tues
days and Saturdays.
Many rumors are rife about
doings in the future.. From
camp we hear that all on
the sick list were examined
by the surgeon yesterday and
all fit for duty were ordered to
Havens Letter: June 17 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

report to their companies for
duty and that those unfit will
be sent to some hospital or con
valescent camp. and that the
cavalry of Genl Stahel will be
releived here by infantry and
sent down into the Shenandoah
Valley or used to Operate against
Stuart.. It is said too that
ten days rations are ordered to
be cooked and in readiness to be
moved at a moments notice.
Stuart too is reported in Mary
land and making his way towards
Harrisburgh Pennsylvania
having crossed the country a
night or two ago within six miles
of our camp. This latter report
shows what men can say or think
when frightened out of their wits..
The 5th & 6th regts which have
Havens Letter: June 17 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

been here ever since we left
Fairfax in April without seeing
a reb until Moseby came upon
them a few days ago have got
“Moseby on the brain” mighty
bad and the rustling of dry leaves
or crackling of brush even in mid
day scares them out of their seven
senses (if they have as many).
I dislike to boast of our own
valor or run down that of our
brother regts but to see such
imbecility as is exhibited in
these two regiments is enough
to sicken any one of the Service.
We expected to be releived from
picket yesterday at noon but
may now remain two or three
days.. We are on post 8 hours
in twenty four and have the
same number to rest.
Havens Letter: June 17 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

The term of service of
many of the Massachusetts and
other eastern regiments have
expired and they are leaving for
home. You have undoubtedly
heard this before. It is reported
too that it is positively known
that Lee has during this time
been reinforced to the number of
90,000. and I can not blame
Hooker for falling back from the
Rappahannock.. To any one who
will attentively study the fact of
the country in this state it will
be apparent that as long as the
rebels remain on the south side
of that river it will take an
immense army to defeat them.
and they must be whipped almost
to annihilation within the sight
Havens Letter: June 17 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

of Washington before we can hope
for much from the “Grand army
of the Potomac..” This country too,
has been entirely desolated and
affords nothing to benefit either party.
While our army lies along the
Rappahannock all supplies must
be transported across this country
which requires large forces to keep
the communications open.. The same
may be said of the rebel army if
allowed to come up to the very gates of
Washington.. So to my mind
the so called retreat of Hooker
is no disgrace to our arms..
True we have to mourn the loss
of many valuable lives whose sac
rifice now seems fruitless and
regret the failure of our army
before Fredericksburgh.
Havens Letter: June 17 1863 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

But if Grant succeeds in
his siege of Vicksburgh and
the rebel army is driven from the
Mississippi river we may be
satisfied to remain quietly protect
ing Washington and be ready
to come “in at the death.”
Nature has done more for
the defences of Virginia than
any other State in the Union
and I can only repeat the often
repeated assertion that “Virginia
is emphatically the fighting
ground of the rebellion”
I doubt not that it
will be difficult for us to
recognize our old home after
the many improvements that
will be made in our absence
Allen Park says tell
Mr Jarvis that he must
Havens Letter: June 17 1863 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: June 17 1863
Havens Letter: June 17 1863

build one room large enough
to dance in for we will have
a dance when we get back
or demolish his fortifications..
I had not, up to the time
we returned to Fairfax C.H. sent
my diary but while there I gave
it to [illegible in original] who said he would
mail it for me.. I do not know
whether he did so or not..
I am anxious to hear from
Melinda. as the last I heard
she was not very well..
But I must stop as I
have already wearied you out
with my long letters.. I am
well and glad to know that
you are all in good health.
Write as often as you can
find it convenient. As ever
Yours. E. R Havens
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