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Havens Letter: July 9 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: July 9, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 12
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 12
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: July 9 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: July 9 1863
Havens Letter: July 9 1863

Country Bivouac Near Boonesboro Md
Wednesday July 9th 1863

Dear Father. Mother. & Nell..
Again I seize
my pen to resume my occasional correspondence
which has been interrupted by the rough. hard
scenes we have passed through since June 28th..
One week ago on Sunday last we halted
for about 24 hours. during which time Genls Stahel
reviewed the division
and Pleasanton ^ when Genl. Stahel was releived
of the command of the division which was handed
over to Pleasanton. while Stahel was placed in
command of the 11th Army Corps.. He took our
Brigadier Genl Copeland with him. and to our
brigade was added the 1st Mich Cavalry making
an exclusive Mich Brigade and Genl Custerd
formerly chief of Pleasanton’s staff was placed in
command of us.. He is a glorious fellow, full of
energy. quick to plan. and bold to execute. and with
us has never failed in any attempt he has yet
made.. I wrote you a short account of our ad
venture a day or two ago. and have but little that
is new to write.. Yesterday afternoon we fought
a force of them about seven hours near here
which was quite a severe one and which resulted
Havens Letter: July 9 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: July 9 1863
Havens Letter: July 9 1863

in our whipping them severely and driving them
back from a good position.. I wish I were able
to describe a battle but I am not.. Suffice it to say
that if this war could be closed honorably without
firing another gun I would be content. I have
not as yet seen such hard fighting as is described
by many. the reason very likely is that we have
seen no infantry fighting..
Boonesboro.. is a small town nearly half as
large as Buchanan situated on the pike leading
direct from Frederick to Williamsport near the
foot of the South Mountain. and is surrounded
by lines of hills affording excellent positions for
fighting and on a line of these our position was
taken.. Our right rested near the foot of the
mountains above the town and stretched across
the pike to near the South Pass.. The line of
battle was about two miles in extent.. The hardest fighting
was from about quarter of a mile to the left of the pike to
our extreme right flank.. Our brigade was on
the extreme right. the 5th & 6th with their seven
shooters deployed as dismounted skirmishers
while our regt was employed in supporting the battery
attached to our brigade. (Battery M. 2nd U.S. Art)
We were under almost constant fire of shell.
case shot. solid shot or grape and cannister. yet
strange. and fortunate not a man was struck until
Havens Letter: July 9 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: July 9 1863
Havens Letter: July 9 1863

just at dusk. when being drawn from our position
by a misunderstood order. one man was literally
blown to pieces and another one badly wounded by an
unlucky shell.. The musketry firing was hot and
heavy and although a superiour force was sent against
our men. they made their “Spencers” do good execution
and held them for hours and finally had the
satisfaction of seeing the rebels retreat before their
undaunted valor.. I saw one charge made by the
rebels agains our skirmishers. who were drawn up in
line in an open field. and who cooly stood their
ground and repelled without their line being broken
or even wavering at a single point.. It was at this
time that the shelling did such execution in our
ranks. We moved down the pike in column of
fours and in plain and open sight of their batteries
and I anticipated another charge. when just in
range of their guns we were turned to the right in an
open field when they opened two guns upon us. The
first one went some distance over us, the second one
passed just between Lieut. Col Litchfield and our 1st
Sergt and stuck in the ground without bursting.
Another one burst directly over Col. Mann’s head
and the concussion of the air blew him out of the
saddle without hurting him any. the next one
did the damage.. Our loss was slight in men
and horses while theirs I can not conjecture
Havens Letter: July 9 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: July 9 1863
Havens Letter: July 9 1863

Today our infantry has been coming in from
towards Frederick all day and I think are
camped near hear. They consist of the 1st & 6th
Corp principally and the streets, of the hotels and
every house has been thronged by soldiers and
officers.. The citizens are busy baking bread. pies
and everything which customers are eagerly
waiting for.. Where the rebels are you know
full as well as I do. but Kilpatrick and Buford
will find them at the right time.
Two companies of new recruits numbering
something more than a hundred joined our regt
today. They are mostly armed with only sabres
and scarecely half equipped as yet..
Our Lieut hired a contraband this afternoon
captured on the 4th who says that he was formerly
waiter to Longstreet and says that Genl was missing
and that the rebs did not know where he was
so that the story of its [illegible in original] being Genl Longworth
instead of Longstreets that was missing must be
a canard.. We have had no mail since leaving
Frederick ten days ago.. and until today I have not
seen a paper since leaving Farifax. the reported
surrender of of Vicksburg on the 4th is cheering and
if true together with their defeat at Gettysburg must
make old Jeff shake some.
Havens Letter: July 9 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: July 9 1863
Havens Letter: July 9 1863

We have rested today and pitched a
camp. but how long we shall remain undisturbed
we can not tell. I dare not hope it will be
long.. I have had two nights rest and begin
to feel like Ed again. but the constant exertion
has taken off some of the superfluous flesh
whi with which I was troubled some time ago.
and think I would hardly weigh 150. today
but feel in working trim..
I met with a loss at Gettysburg the other
day which was a sad one to me.. My little horse
which I have ridden since last winter managed
to dismount me and ran away taking with
him my saddle in the pockets of which was my
case containing Father’s and Mother’s portraits. and
day before yesterday I had the misfortune to lose
Nell’s and I want you to fill their places with
new ones at the earliest opportunity. Have
them ambrotypes taken without case or glass on
if more convenient. get Photographs as they are
much more easy to carry than those in cases..
I have Renes. which is a small ambrotype
set in a photograph card and is highly
valued by me. The sight of it brings to mind
many past happy scenes.
Havens Letter: July 9 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: July 9 1863
Havens Letter: July 9 1863

What has become of Isom and Melinda
I have not heard anything from them for two
months and feel anxious to hear from them.
But I must close. It is nearly
dark. and I can see to write but a few
lines more. Cannonading and musketry
firing can be heard to the south of us. but it is
so late that I do not anticipate a battle
tonight.. But if it should be our fortune
to enter one I hope to live to write you again
soon.
Give my compliments to all my friend
and say that my comrades from there are
all well.
Write often and remember your affec
tionate son and brother
Edwin R Havens
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