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Havens Letter: June 27 1863

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Creator: Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: June 27, 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
LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 11, Page: 1

LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 11
LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 11

Camp of 7th Mich. Cavalry
On. South Mountain
Maryland
June 27th /63.
Dear Nell.
I make it a point of
duty as well as a pleasure at every
point at which we make a days halt to
drop you a few lines. and as we are now
in active service I find a great deal that
is interesting to me. I stated in
my last that we would probably
leave Fairfax C. House Thursday morning
but I had but finished yours and
commenced another when Major
Houston gave Capt Walker orders to get
the company ready to move instantly.
and accordingly all were busy in
getting ready.. We were ordered to
take 3 days rations and two days
forage thus precluding the possibility
so
of again starving our horses ^ long..
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

The whole division moved this
time as before and we had the
rear protecting the battery. We
stopped that night near a little village
whose name I have forgotten. Next
morning after marching about three
miles we left the Alexandria and
Leesburg pike and marched to Edwards
Ferry where the battery crossed the
Potomac on a pontoon bridge.
Up to the time of leaving the pike
we had thought that we should
go to Leesburgh.. but we left that
about five miles to the left of us..
At the ferry we fell in with the advance
guard and wagon train of the 11th army
corps commanded by Maj. Genl
Howard. The rest of our division turned
some little distance from the ferry
and crossed at Conrads Ford. while
expected
we ^ crossed to cross on the ford ferry.
but after the battery had crossed
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

the wagon train commenced
crossing and soon after the column of
the corps came up. and after waiting
some hour longer we mounted our
[illegible in original] and “lit out” for the ford
This was some mile and a half
below. and at this place the river was
about 120 rods in width and between
three or four feet deep.. We crossed
without anything of interest occurring
We halted at the little village a short
distance from the river long enough
to feed our horses and get us some
grub.. and took up the march with
the infantry belonging to the corps.
The troops advanced in four columns
ours taking the center.. and again
meeting the infantry at Poolesville
which is a beautiful little village
its streets lined with citizens
and looking much home or
some northern village
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

Indeed everything is in strong con
trast with the country in which
we have trouble traveleled during the
past three months.. Every thing has the
appearance of plenty and happiness..
I saw yesterday and the day before
some as heavy wheat as I ever saw..
The face of the country is rolling, and
this side of Frederick, the Blue Ridge
Mountains take their rise. and most of
our journey yesterday was over mountains
and through the valleys between them..
After leaving Poolesville we passed
through a dirty little village called Bonder
ville in which nearly every one was a secesh
as could be plainly seen in their counte
nance and actions We camped about
midnight, after wandering over hills and
through hollows while a drizzling
rain which had commenced about middle
of the afternoon was increasing in force
nearly every moment.. We stopped in the
middle of the road in darkness so deep
that we could not see to look out a good
place to make our bed so Al [illegible in original]
and P. fastened our horses to gether
and I tied the halter to my wrist
and in our rubber coats we lay down
against the bank on the roadside
spread our poncho over us and went
to sleep and I beleive I never slept
for four hours sounder than I did for the
four next succeeding ones and never
felt more refreshed than on rising yester
day morning covered with mud which
our horses had taken pains to throw into
our faces “just for fun..” you Know.
Last night however we put up our shelter
tents and lay down at a seasonable bedtime
in blankets that had survived the storm of
the night before and were not yet dry and
as we lay down remarking that if not dis
turbed that we should pass the night
comfortably and so we did!
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

We moved on again about nine
yesterday morning and found that we
were close to a little village called Ur
bana quite a pleasant little place and
two or three miles further on crossed
the Baltimore and Ohio R R at Monocracy
Junction and stuck the pike leading
to Frederick which place we reached
about noon.. We were this time in the
advance of the division and “made
time” much better than when hindered
by the slow labored movements of the
battery.. Frederick is a large and beautiful
city and in nearly every window along
the street the “Flag of the Stars and
Stipes” waved triumphantly and
cheers from the men and waving.
of handkercheifs and smiles from
the ladies proved that many were
glad to see us and that the “Old
a
Flag” was yet loved by many even in ^
slave state
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

The march from Frederick to this
(13 miles)
place ^ was made in about 3 hours
and part of our campany was sent
down the other side of the mountain
two or three miles.. The rebs have been
in here within three days past and
I think are now within five miles. of us
We turned back a short distance from
Decatursville and after turning back
we were told that had we gone a
short distance farther we would have
b
been led into an am^ush and had a lively
little time. We are now encamped on
the old Battlefield of South Mountain
in September last. and my tent now
rests agains the very stone wall over
which our gallant “17th” won the
imperishable fame which now surrounds
their name.. Evidences of the terrible
firing on that day are to be found
all around us.. We can not pick
up a twig. nail. or chunk or find
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

scarcely a tree which has not been
struck by from 2 to seven balls.
Near a lane, in a field close by
lies upwards of 30 rebels all in one
grave. and in a well close by are
58 rebels. Upwards of 30 of the
17th Mich lie in graves together
a short distance from the ground..
The rebels held a low stone wall
surmounted by a crown of rails every
one of which is pierced by balls. Each
of the 58 rebs in the well were killed
behind this wall and each one
struck in the head.. The stone wall
over which the “17th” charged the rebs
is a strong one some 4 ½ feet high
and behind this the rebels were
massed in great numbers.
A square stone some two feet high
marks the spot where Genl. Reno
was shot and fell.. he died some
distance
little ^ back from there..
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

A small log house on the
brow of the hill was hit by innumer
able balls.. and the underbrush
and small timber was literally
mowed down about breast high..
and it is a great wonder apparently
that any should es cape.. From
our camp we have an extensive view
of the country for miles around us..
We are on the top of the South Moun
tain and our duty is to hold the South
Pass of this mountain.. Near Middle
ton in the Eastern side of the moun
tain can be seen large camps of
Federal soldiers and I think I am
safe in saying that an army of
50,000 men are always in sight
of us.. Todays paper reports that
the rebels in force occupy Gettysburg
They are also beleived to be in con
siderable force at Hagerstown and
it was rumored yesterday that we
were marching on [illegible in original] place
But instead of being now in sight of
these as I yesterday fondly hoped to be
I am now “on picket” as usual.. I shall
be glad when we are done “picketing.
I would be very well satisfied never
to see Virginia again It is a pleasant
state in many parts and becoming
accustomed to its scenery I began
to like it but I am now well satis
fied to be out of it.. It is painful to
witness the destruction of its many
beautiful spots and too we know
that 99 out of every 100 were at heart
our enemies no matter what they professed
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

But here everything is different..
We feel that many of the citizens
are friends. and it was really
cheering to our almost heartsick
soldiers to see the manifestations
of Joy made by many as we passed
them. Old men and women came
to the doors and waving hats and
handkerchiefs would cry “hurrah
for the Union” Every one would
say. “Ah boys it looks like good
old times to see you among us
again.” and we hope you will suc
ceed in driving them out of the
state” They come flocking to the
lines with every thing good to eat
to sell. and I have lived like a
king to day.. Shall I tell you
what I ate for dinner? It was
cherry sauce which I made my
self. coffee made by the same cook
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

and some of the best light soft
bread I ever ate. with good buttter.
and I dare say I relished it as
well as you did yours although
it was prepared by the best of hands
and consisted of a much more exten
sive bill of fare. This morning
our col sent [mark illegible in original] out to a farmer
near by and had him bring in
a load of corn.. and about nine O
clock he came in with five span
king horses hitched before an en
ormous “dry land” schooner.”
said to contain an hundred
bushels of ears. Such horses I
never saw.. Each one being as large
as many small teams I have
seen in Michigan and such as
would make many a Wolverines
mouth water to use them as plow
teams.. They were the largest
horses I ever saw without any
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 11

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

exception and all driven by
one line attached to the leader
the driver being seated on the
near wheel horses This way all
southern men drive their teams..
While moving from Grand Rapids
last spring after reaching Pennsyl
vania I did not see but one team
driven like white folks. Nearly all
teams in government employ are driven
like this. and it is quite amusing to
see a team of eight mules all obey
ing the jerks and swinelike grunts
of their driver..
It rained nearly all of yes
terday and has been cold and
cloudy all day today and has
given us are occasional sprink
ling.. Nearly all the sides of
the mountain is under a
good state of cultivation and
I have seen some of the largest
Havens Letter: June 27 1863 , Page: 12

Havens Letter: June 27 1863
Havens Letter: June 27 1863

and heaviest wheat that I ever
saw. It is nearly ripe and I saw
yesterday a few stacks which
had been cut Hay is being
made corn looks clean but as yet
rather small for the time of year
These are some of the nicest
buildings between here and
Poolesville that I ever say..
We are 13 miles from Freder
ick the same from Hagerstown
and 115 from Harpers Ferry:
You may direct to Washing
ton as usual as I have received no
information to the contrary..
I failed to send you the paper
spoken of in my last but it is of no
consequence as you have ere this
obtained from other sources the
whole account.. I know nothing
of the rest of our division but hear
that it is guarding various other
gaps and passes in the mountains..
There is no telling how long we
shall remain here, but I think
we shall not see Fairfax soon.
All the sick were left there
and we have but one unfit for “duty”
now with us and he gave out day
before yesterday.. Write often and
I hope I may be able to give
you something more interesting
soon. My Love to all
E.R Havens
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