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Havens Letter: August 23 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: August 23, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 13
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 13
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

On Picket Near Falmouth
Sunday August 23d /63

you
How are ^ Nell
and what are you
doing this pleasant Sunday.
The heading of my letter shows
what our company is doing.
and as for me I am here over seeing
the job and playing the gentleman.
Our post is on the banks of the
Rappahannock half a mile above
Falmouth and within excellent
view of Friedericksburg.. We have
our little reserve camp in what
was once a fine [door?] yard. and
I have slept in the house the past
two nights on a lounge which had
a feather cushion. so that Friday
night I slept under the roof of a
house and on feathers for the first
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

time since I was home last
February. I came very near jump
ing off my bed yesterday morning
at hearing the rattle of the door latch
rather an unusual sound to my
ears. I could’n’t have been more star
tled to have heard a volley fired in
the yard.. From where I now sit
writing I can see one side of Fredericks
burg, which looks like quite a pretty little
village nearly as large as Buchanan
It is built upon the plain near
the river bank and seems to be well
shaded by trees.. which almost exclude
all but the roofs of the houses from
sight.. It contains a court house
which may always be known by its
build in all Virginia towns.. two large
churches the spires of which tower high
above the roofs of the other buildings.
besides several large brick buildings
It was the head of steam navi
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

gation on the river besides the
seat of large flouring mills and the
center of a large trade. The wheat
and corn raised in the country
between here and the mountains
was all brought here by teams.. None
of your puny teams of two horses or
a yoke of oxen each. but big teams
of four. six. or eight horses before a
dry land schooner the box of which
would contain from 3 to 500 bushels
of wheat or shelled corn.. These wagons
took back loads of flour and goods..
and Fredericksburg was a lively busi
ness place..
The strong works of which you
have no doubt read much are upon
what is called the highths above and
back of the town.. These hights
are hills some 35 feet higher than
the river and some dis ¾ of a mile
from it. The plain between the
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

river and these hills is acleared
meadow. and across this clear plain
our troops marched in assaulting
these hights. These works are not very
plain to be seen from this point and
I can say but little of their boasted strength
Some quite strong works are said
to be in the town but I know nothing
of them. The Johnnys have a picket
line along the opposite bank of the
river which is about as large as the
St Joe. and it seems quite cozy to
sit on this bank and watch them
at their different posts within speak
ing distance of us.. Just opposite of us a
squad of nine or ten of them lie in the
open sun with only their little cloth
tents to screen them from its heat.
No shooting pickets is allowed
by either party and we feel as happy
and secure as though we were at
home.
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

Last night one of our boys
bantered our neighbors on the other
side to exchange papers with him
which they agreed to do and one of them
agreed to meet him half way.. They
stripped and choosing a spot where
the water seemed most shallow waded
out until they met in the middle of
the stream where they shook hands,
sat down on a stone exchanged their
papers. talked awhile. shook hands
again and separated.. The paper
we received was the Richmond Daily
Dispatch of Aug 21st No importnat
general news was contained in it..
One important item from Charles
ton stated that on the 20th our
batteries of Parrott guns on Morris
Island kept up a furious can
nonading on Fort Sumpter which
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

replied only at long intervals
and the paper stated that our fire
was beginning to tell on the fort.
which is as much as to say it had
already told a good deal.. I have
seen no paper of ours of any later
date than Aug 10th and that a
Detroit Tribune and Advertiser..
But Nell I wish you could
be here in about a week to stand
picket with us at this place a few
days. There is a large peach orchard
of about seven acres. the trees in good
bearing condition and full of the best
qualities of peaches which in a week will
nearly all be ripe. We find a ripe
one occasionally now and those nearly
ripe when stewed make excellent sauce..
But the I suppose you will have
a plenty of them soon at home and
then dont I wish I could be at
home a few days..
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

I am about as well as ever
again since I joined the company.
The cheerfulness and noise of the boys
raised me right up again as soon as
I got where I could hear it.. We have
got the liveliest and most cheerful
company in the whole regiment..
and any one has got to be pretty sick when
he gives up in our company..
One of our Sergts received a letter
from our Capt a few days since saying
that he would be would with us again
in a few days. We shall be glad to
own
see one of our ^ officers to take command of
the company again.. We are not in
any wise too fond of our Dutchman..
Col.. Mann. has obtained a leave
of absence for 30 days. and started
for home a day or two since. A
pleasant time to him.. We should
be sorry to lose him entirely although
he has faults like other men..
Havens Letter: August 23 1863 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: August 23 1863
Havens Letter: August 23 1863

I received a letter a day or two
ag from Cousin Helen dated August
6th. She said people there were just in
the midst of harvesting.. They had a
severe frost on the 15th of July which
did a good deal of damage in the
valleys and ravines. Uncle Craig had
all his corn destroyed by it.
I received a letter from Newt
Sparks this morning. He is at Camp
Convalescent near Alexandria and
said he was good as new almost..
My other friend Geo. Brickell,
known as Genl has gone into the Invalid
Corps.. It was rumored that Newt
was going there. I hope he will not be
obliged to do so. but that he will
soon come to the company..
It has been nearly a week
since I have received a letter from
home. Write Soon.
E R Havens
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