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Havens Letter: September 4 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: September 4, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 14
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 14
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

Camp of 7th Mich Cavalry
Near Berea Church Va
September 4th 1863

How are you Nell
How do the
folks and the world use you about
these times.. You will doubtless
wonder why I ask these questions;
Well I’ll tell you. I have nothing
else to do and moreover I havent
had a letter for about a year. more
or less as the case may be. and I want
to know whether the folks at home
are dead or alive. I dont know what
has got into our mail that it brings
me no more letters.. But then I expect
they will come flocking in one of these
days and I will have enough to do
to answer them. But let them come
I am ready for them..
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

We still remain in the camps that
we established a week ago. but how
long we shall remain here I can
not say.. Things look this morning
like moving in a day or two. Orders
have just been given to police the ground
fix up poles to tie our horses in line and
raise the tents up from the ground.
so look out for a move by Monday
at farthest. Those orders never yet
were given unless the order to move follow
ed in less than forty-eight hours..
A corps of infantry moved down
from Warrenton Junction on Monday
and releived our division from picket
duty. which immediately made preparations
for a big raid and at midnight they
moved off leaving only the sick and
afflicted in camp. I did not go
with them as I could do them no good
and felt pretty tired as I had been
helping our Adjutant (Our Briggs)
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

about making out the monthly
returns of the regt which kept us busy
until near midnight. They returned
yesterday about noon having been down
H
to King Konge’s Church and Port
Royal. They found a small picket
force of Cavalry at King Konge’s C.H
and drove them across the river
capturing a boat load of six or eight
of them as they were trying to cross.
The found two reb gun boats
which they sunk with artillery and
some report that they blew up after
wards.. Two men only were Killed
on our side. One a Lieut of the [illegible in original] Mich
and a private of the same regiment..
No one of our regt was hit.
The weather is cool and pleasant
and were it not so dry and dusty
would be splendid weather for cavalry
operations.. But when a brigade
or even regt is marching together
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

they raise a cloud of dust
so dense as to almost suffocate
a person.. and I am quite willing
to be left behind at such times..
We are having good living now.
Fresh soft bread two days each week
with beans. pickled cabbage. dried
apples rice and various other articles
We have potatoes quite often. We
draw them from the commissary
two days each week and by the
tops the other five days.. Peaches
apples and pears. come somewhat
mysteriously into our camp every
day but no one asks where they came
from, but is there anymore there..
Every citizen even if known
to be one of the blackest secesh
has a safeguard whose duty it is
to protect all these things but
they are often either outwitted or
secretly connive at these depredations
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

The idea of protecting
every mans property and especially
that of these blackhearted traitors
seems to me one of the most absurd
things that could be started.
It takes a good many good
men who had better be employed
in some other way to advance
Uncle Abe’s interests..
I do not think that either
Genls Kilpatrick or Custerd are
much in favor of this system of safe
guards but they are forced to obey
the orders of superiors as much as
the lowest private.. I was amused
in a little thing I saw in Gen.
Kilpatrick on Sunday last while
at the horse race. Two young fellows
belonging to some regt but not in
uniform excepting their pants.
had been out foraging and came
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

back past the course each
loaded with a bag containing nearly
a bushel of green corn. As they came
out of the woods into the road the
Genl saw them and said to one of
his staff. “There’s a couple of guerril
las” “No” said the Major “They ve been
out foraging” “Old Kill” took another
look. “Golly” said he “I guess they have”
and pulled his hat further down
over his eyse and turned away so he
should not see them. The boys on
seeing the Genl were frightened and
skulked out around him through
the woods. Our boys found plenty
of hams. and bacon while they were
gone. which Custer allowed them
to take and even ordered Col
Litchfield to take off a safeguard
he had placed there.
Secessionism finds no sympathy
from him
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

September has come again
and one year ago today our 1st Sergt
the 1st man to enlist in the company
was enrolled.. We often hear many
say “Well if I was in the same place
and circumstances I was one year ago
you would’nt catch me enlisting again”
or “If I could be discharged today. they
would have to draft me if they ever got
me into the service again.” Some three
or four of us were talking a day or two
since in this way. Some offering to
make great sacrifices to be free again..
when I told them that “though I
liked liberty as well as they I would
not sacrifice as much to get out of the
army as I did to get into it” and
that was no idle speech either. I
could appreciate the comfort and
advantages of civil life as well as any
one but I have enjoyed myself
so well since I became a soldier
Havens Letter: September 4 1863 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: September 4 1863
Havens Letter: September 4 1863

that should I live to become
a citizen I should miss the
manner of living as a soldier for
a long time afterward.. I cannot
feel so impatient under the re
straint imposed by our discipline
that many do. I am agreeably
surprised at the freedom allowd
allowed us in the field.. I feel
nearly as much a free man
as I ever did in my life. Its
just as easy to be a soldier as it is
to be any body else.. if one only
thinks so.. But Gen. Meade
says this war will end in ninety
days and then we’ll be home
by New Years. So “I’ll be
gay and happy still.”
Write soon.
Ever Yours
E R. Havens

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