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Havens Letter: August 13 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: August 13, 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: August 13 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

Camp Cavalry Outposts
Near Harwood Church Va
Thursday Aug 13th 1863

Dear Nell.
My usual resort when
I have nothing to do is my pen and
paper. I sometimes need this to protect
me against the blues. Consequently I
use them to visit awhile with you
first, and afterwards with friends..
You will see by the commence
ment of my letter that we have again
moved.. We broke camp at Warrenton
Junction on Monday afternoon with
the understanding that we were only
going to a better ground a mile and a
half distant. We moved to that spot
and next morning received orders
to move to this place to releive the 1st
Brigade which had been on picket here
for some time
Havens Letter: August 13 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

The brigade started near the middle
of the afternoon but I together with some
ten or twelve others of our company who
were detained awhile did not start un
til 6 O’clock P.M. One or two regts
of the 1st brigade together with its wagon
train started out about. the same time that
our brigade did and in the dusk
and dark we missed the track of ours
and followed them for some distance
when losing track of them also we switched
off into a little grove and put up.. Yester
day morning we started on again and
finally found the course of our brigade
and arrived here about [3?] P.M.
We are on the road from Warrenton
Junction to Falmouth eleven miles from
the latter place and ten from Stafford
Court House.. Our regt is out on
picket excepting one company and
those who came in with me.
Our picket line extends to the
Rappahannock. on the opposite
Havens Letter: August 13 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

bank of which the rebs have a
picket line.. The pickets of the
1st brigade and the rebel pickets used
to visit each other. play cards. exchange
us
tobacco with them for coffee and sugar
and have a “stubbed. comfortable sort of a
time” together.. Yesterday morning one
of the 5th N. Y. boys went over and played
euchre with them awhile during which
they won 25 dollars in “green backs”
from him. He came back after a new
supply when his officers would not allow
him to cross again..
We have had very warm weather
all the week and very dry until this
morning when it has rained about
five hours steadily though not very
hard.. It is still raining and prom
ises a rainy day..
It was reported on our arrival
here that 1500 rebel cavalry had crossed at
Falmouth and gone in the direction of
Stafford Court House. and it was thought
Havens Letter: August 13 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

that they might attack us this
morning and accordingly the horses
were kept saddled and every thing
ready to move instantly in case of emer
gency. But we slept soundly and
no alarm has been received this mor
ning..
There is no village here it being
only the site of one of those churches
which are to be found quite frequently
in Virginia.. With the exception
of Court Houses they are about the
only public edifices to be found here.
The are met with more frequently
in the country than in the small
villages.. Some of them are only
plain wooden structures of plans
at least 100 years behind the times
others are of brick and more modern.
Mount Zion Church near Aldie
was quite a nice brick church and
the plan inside very good.. [Harwood?]
Church is of brick but I have not yet
seen the inside.
Havens Letter: August 13 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

The Presbyterian Church
at Greenwich is without exception the
finest one I have seen in Virginia.
The village of Greenwich was founded
by an Englishman named Greene from
where it undoubtedly derives its name..
The church is of stone, built in modern
Gothic style with spire. Gothic windows. stained
and gallery. and pews stained something I
have not seen elsewhere in Va.. One description
suffices for all others. A grand brick on
wooden dwelling building. square windows
or when with [illegible in original] gallery a row of small
frieze light windows above plain wooden
benches and box pulpit.. Here as in all
dwelling houses that I have yet entered
the floor is bare.. I do not remember to
have seen a carpet even on the floor of the
nicest.. This is a painful contrast with
our Northern states where almost the poorest
hovel has some kind of a covering for the
floor.
Havens Letter: August 13 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

But if one wants to see nice
country churches let him visit the
parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania
through which we passed.. Here in the
mountains we saw many little stone churches
in some beautiful [illegible in original]. usually on some
slight eminence from which an extended
view of the country around could be had.
Their clean outside appearance. white
doors and white curtains; or blinds would
carry me back to scenes of a year ago and
far away.. I repeat what I have often
before said we never faired better than
when north of the Potomac.
Maryland as you know is famed the
world over for its wheat and flour. and
it justly deserves all the fame it enjoys.
I ate the best bread in Maryland
that I ever saw.. When this war is over
I am going to import me a wife and
a bake oven from Maryland simply
for the bread they will make me..
Havens Letter: August 13 1863 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

They use brick ovens built out
of doors and make such loaves. Many
a single one I have seen you could not
put in a half bushel. (Two of us would put
one away at one meal) and at least ten inches
thick. moist, sweet and cost a quarter.
“O! Maryland! My Maryland”!
In my last I spoke of the probability
of our receiving our pay soon.. We were paid
Sunday afternoon after dark.. So that
while you were undoubtedly enjoying your
self and somebody. else. we were enjoying
ourselves by shaking the “Green Backs”
at each other.. In one of my letters two
months ago. I spoke of the probability of
Wm Graham being promoted to a Sergt
He was mustered as a Sergt on the
1st of July and received Sergt pay ($17
per month) for May and June, two months
before he became one. “Good joke.”
But he is worthy of it and I am glad to
say that I did all in my power to forward
his cause
Havens Letter: August 13 1863 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: August 13 1863
Havens Letter: August 13 1863

We are now in a strange part
of the country to us. I have never been in this sec
tion before.. From what I saw of it yesterday
I should judge it to be pretty well stripped.
But then it is something new. We had
become pretty well acquainted with the country
between the O. & A.R. R.. and the Blue Ridge..
and even a poorer country may be tolerated for a
few days.. It would seem that our men are not
in active.. This forenoon some of them captured an
ox team and wagon, loaded with a few sacks of wheat
and corn from a small force of rebs who had
ventured to this side of the river and who were just
able to recross themselves.. A little while ago I
saw two “johnnys” pass by under guard to report at
Hd. Qtrs.. There is a report that Col. Mann is
in command of the brigade Genl Custer having
remained behind. I am not able to confirm
this yet think it quite probable..
The hot weather and my past weeks
inactivity has not agreed with me very well. I
have been “sorter [illegible in original]” (as Mrs Rice would
say) for several days and yesterday I felt much
like the dumb Ague.. My head neck & back
and legs ached till they [illegible in original] sore and I could
hardly sit on my horse but I slept last
night in the open air with nothing but a poncho
over and got up this morning feeling all right”
I have been troubled with tooth ache and my face
is now sore and swollen. But I never was obliged
to give up yet and shant do it now while I can
sit on a horse. But I will close..
My love to all.. Ever Yours
E R Havens
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