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Havens Letter: October 18 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: October 18, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 15
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 15
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: October 18 1863 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: October 18 1863
Havens Letter: October 18 1863

Near Farifax C.H. Va.
October 18th 1863
Dear Nell.
Yours of the 11th came
to hand last night and I assure it
was truly welcome. as I had begun
to look for it and feel anxious for
its [illegible in original] receipt.. I now find
myself near the very spot where
six and one half months ago we made
our first camp in Virginia.. We arrived
here on Thursday night after a forced
march from Culpepper of five days and
nights in length.. I need not go into
the particulars of the march. as it was
so much like the many others I have
attempted to describe to you during the
past summer that its story would be
uninteresting to you.. Nor is it worth
Havens Letter: October 18 1863 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: October 18 1863
Havens Letter: October 18 1863

my time to tell you the causes of
this retreat. for retreat it was although
not forced upon us by a defeat in an
encounter at arms with the enemy. But
it undoubtedly was that Lee had the
best hand or played his cards so well
as to force Meade back. Yet I think
that this move has been in con
templation by Meade for a long time
and that he only desired to draw
them back upon the old Bull
Run field and again try the
issue with them upon that
“storied spot.” But of what conse
quence are my opinions to any one.
I will drop them and try some
thing else. On Sunday morning
last we bade farewell to Culpep
per C.H. and about 3 P.M. crossed
the Rappahannock at Rappa
Havens Letter: October 18 1863 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: October 18 1863
Havens Letter: October 18 1863

hannock station.. The cavalry
covered our retreat and had a
severe battle with them all day.
At one time Kilpatrick was out
flanked and nearly surrounded and
saved himself only by a charge to our
brigade which he led in person..
None of our Co. were hurt. Wm Gra
ham was the only one from the
“Bend” engaged. but the name of its
soldiers will never suffer by any act of
his. As usual he was in the hottest
of it and twice came near being killed
At one time he with six others had
been sent away to support a few skir
mishes when suddenly they found
themselves nearly surrounded by rebs
and wheeling found themselves
immediately between a regt of the
rebs and one of our own charging down
Havens Letter: October 18 1863 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: October 18 1863
Havens Letter: October 18 1863

upon each other full speed and to save
themselves they were forced to fly at their
best speed.. Again a cannon ball passed
just over his horses’ head almost throwing
him to the ground.. On Wednesday as
we arrived near Brentville we heard
cannonading and reaching the town
we could see the smoke and flashes of the can
nons.. hear the bursting of the shells and
the cannon [illegible in original] of the musketry and at
times the yells as some charge was
made. They were fighting between us and
Bristoe Station and our line of battle was
scarce two miles distant.. The enemy drove
our troops a part of the time but lost
six pieces of cannon and over 400 prisoners..
We were detained in Brentville three
or four hours and while there had a
chance to see the place. But three or
four families live there at present and the
whole town has been completely gutted.
Every building had been torn to pieces badly..
We stopped in the old tavern, an old
antiquated building built in the style of a century
ago. the rooms low and dark looking much
more like one of our old stables than a
public house. Some soldiers had been
there before us and having gutted the
Court House near by had brought many
of the old papers found in it over there and
Kicking around in the straw I
picked up a good many wills and other
papers bearing a date of more than a
century ago. I will in close you one bearing
date 1767. the only one I preserved although
I found some dated 1753. There is nothing
important in this one but there is some
thing interesting in these relics of olden
times.
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