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Havens Letter: July 6 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: July 6, 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 6 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

[Begin Scan 1]

Bivouac Cavalry Division
Near Boonesboro. Maryland
July 6th 1863

I presume that you begin
to feel some anxiety concerning
me. The news from this section
of the country has undoubtedly
caused varying emotions in the
hearts of our people at home..
One of the most important
has been fought
if not decisive battles ^ and most
important actions of the war has
been won within the past ten
days. The three days fight at
Gettisburg will long be remember
ed by many and will fill many
brilliant pages in the history
of this war when that shall be
written.. But I will not at
tempt any glowing eulogy
upon that as I have no time
Havens Letter: July 6 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

a lengthy letter at this time..
When I last wrote you we
were stopping at a small place
near Frederick.. From there
we marched on Monday to
Littlestown Pa. from there next
day through Hanover to near
Abbottstown. when we heard firing
in our rear and turning back
we were soon engaged in the
fight at Hanover. Our boys were
under fireing skirmishing with
the rebs about an hour.. No one
among us was hurt except
a corp of co F.. who was wounded in
the hip.. We remained there until
next day about two P.M. when
we marched to East Berlin
when we first heard the firing
at Gettisburg.. The next morning
we took the back track to Abbots
town and from there to near
Havens Letter: July 6 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

Gettisburg. when we turned and
passed around to near the rear
of their left flank and were soon
engaged in a skirmish at Hunters
town. where our advance drove in
a picket post and our battery silen
ced a rebel gun.. Our co. supported
the battery and were under shell
fire for about an hour.. without
any one being hurt although the
rebs did excellent practice. the
shot and shells striking close to
our pieces and very often making
me wink when they whistled too
loudly to be agreeable.. About
midnight we left that position
and joined a reserve post where
we remained until nearly nine
A.M. when we were again moved
out to protect our right flank which
the rebs were trying to turn by
means of artillery supported by a
Havens Letter: July 6 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

strong force of cavalry. Frequent artil
lery duels were [carried?] on during
the day between our batteries and
those of the rebs.. Our regt was
always at the front where any new
move was made although we did
nothing but maneuve until
about 4 P.M. when we were ordered
forward and made our first
charge.. The charge was against
a large force of dismounted skirm
mishers armed with longrange guns
and protected by a fence and line of
bushes and made with drawn
sabres.. It is useless to say that the
regt was thrown into confusion..
No regt could stand such a force.
We could not touch them with our
sabres: and were lead through a
single narrow gap where our men
were huddled together and the rebs
pouring a destructive fire among
us. No wonder that we ran
but not before they were driven
from the fence and their cavalry
had come up
Havens Letter: July 6 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

We fell back just out of
range of their fire and charged
them
forming charged them again
and were again driven back.
Our old veteran 1st then came
up and charged them twice when
they fell back upon their artillery
But they were beaten and al
though their cannon poured forth
a harsh note occasionally they
dared not venture out.. and soon
the firing ceased along the whole
line. where since noon the war of
artillery had been so constant that
you could scarcely distinguish
one report from another..
We went into that charge with
thirty six good men and at dark
could account for only 13 of them.
So far as I yet know. we had
but one Killed the rest being

Havens Letter: July 6 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

wounded and missing. Chester
Calvin was badly wounded in the
thigh and has since been reported
dead. yet I do not credit the report
Our capt was also wounded in the
thigh in the first charge but went
in on the second one before giving
up.. Several others were wounded
and a few that we can give no
account of.. Wm Graham had his
horse shot under him. but was not
harmed. himself.. He was as cool as
Greenland throughout the whole
fight.. Al Park was not in the
fight having in charge of some
horses and of course in the rear.
A Ball A ball struck the
forefinger of my right hand breaking
the skin but doing no other dam
age. We retired from the field
soon after dark and reached the
spot that we left in the morning
Havens Letter: July 6 1863 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

about midnight and next morning
we were shoved on again after the rebs
who were reported to be retreating.
We marched to Emmetsburg Md..
and from thence through the moun
tains by the pike leading through
them [driving?] in a rebel gun and
attacking and destroying a large
wagon train filled with wounded
secesh and taking nearly 1500 prisoners
We moved on Sunday to Smith
town and at 4 P.M. were in
line of battle and one of our batteries
was engaged with the advance of
a rebel column.. They fought till
dark. when we gradually fell
back and at two Oclock that
night reached a spot near this
village and put up for the night
Yesterday we again moved to Hagers
town and fought them there
about five hours and then
Havens Letter: July 6 1863 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: July 6 1863
Havens Letter: July 6 1863

fell back a mile or two and
staid until daylight when we moved
on to this place.. So you see that
we have had a plenty to do for the
past ten days. We may have a nother
fight to night and may not
We begin to need rest.. but I do
not think we shall get a very long
one soon. We are now under com
mand of the famous Kilpatrick
and will have not enough to do
this summer..
I am well though tired but
consider myself better than two
dead men yet.. I could tell you
much that I flatter myself would
interest you, but have not the
time. but you shall have it in
due time. As to the general particulars
of the battles you know them better
than I do.. Graham and Park
are both all right.. Give my
compliments to all inquiring
friends and write soon.
With prayers for your
long life and happiness I
remain as ever your affection
ate son an Brother
Edwin R Havens
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