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Havens Letter: November 15 1863

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: November 15, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 16
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 16
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 1

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

Near Stevensburg Va
Monday November 15th /63

Dear Brother Nell,
Your wel
come favor of [illegible in original] the 8th came to
hand on Friday last and would
have been answered in this had
I been able to find the time.
But let it be as it is. I will
tell you all I can think of.
You are already well acquainted
with the fact that we are again
south of the Rappahannock and
facing the enemy on the south
flank of the Rapidan.
Our line of battle is about
the same as the one we occu
pied when South of the Rappa
hannock before.. Our division
is on the left and is picketing
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 2

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

along the Rapidan at Raccoon
Germania and Somerville Fords.
Orders have been issued to pre
pare winter quarters. Genls Kilpatrick
and Custer have chosen their
quarters for the winter and a few
of the regimants have already chosen
theirs.. Our Brig. Q.M. has recd
orders to go into winter quarters.
and will move to the camps
he has chosen in a day or two.
or. when the cars commence
running to Culpepper.. This
it is expected they will do tonight
Heretofore Luce coming here
we have been obliged to send
to Warrenton Junction for forage
and rations.. The teams have
gone to-day for the last time. as
we expect.. It has been usual
customary for one of us to go
with the teams. but on Satur
day the Q.M. requested three
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 3

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

of us to go. The weather for
a few days had been fine and
the prospects that morning were
splendid and thinking it was
time for me to go I saddled up
and started.. The forenoon was
warm and pleasant and I enjoyed
myself hugely. But about 2. P M. it
began to promise a storm and
before night it was upon us. a
real genuine thunder shower.
such a one as Warrenton Junction
is famous for. and such as it has
few equals in. It rained nearly
all night and as we were compelled
to work till nearly midnight loading
our teams we went to sleep somewhat
damp. We were up long before day
break and having eaten a few pieces
of Hd Tack and drank a little
coffee we started, and so did the
rain. and it kept increasing in
force and quantity until before
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 4

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

before reaching the river we
were riding with overcoat. and
knees wet through and bootsful
of water, only one of mine had so
many holes in the bottom around
the soles that the water ran out
as fast as in. To make every thing
more pleasant the wind
blew a perfect Nor wester cold
enough for Greenland. These are
the times when one takes com
fort thinking how nicely he
might have been housed had he
taken Mother’s advice and stayed
at home. It is really amusing
to hear the expressions made
by some who are inclined to be
a little facetious.or those who
wish to grumble some. I like to
grumble if there’s no one else at
it but if there’s plenty of others
at it I feel like laughing.
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 5

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

We had been on the
north side of the Rappahannock
nearly a month when we again
staid on its banks at Kellys Ford.
Those four weeks had been exciting
and fruitful of events. We found on
striking the O & A. R R. again that
the rebs had done their worst at de
stroying it.. The rails had been
torn up the ties also. and the
fences for miles had been torn
down and hauled to the side of
the track and burned. the rails
being thrown on the fires and
heated until they could be bent
which they did until they could
not be again used. Culverts had
been destroyed and bridges burned
from the river to Warrenton
Manassas Junction. and when
we started to cross the river it had
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 6

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

been repaired only as far as
Warrenton Junction. but since
then large numbers of men have
been kept busy and yesterday the
track had been laid to within a
quarter of a mile of the river. a new
bridge was already up and ere
this I dare say the first engine
has crossed and will be to Culpepper
tonight. The rebs had built strong
fortifications at the crossing of the
railroad on the north side of the
river and strengthened those on
the south bank. But it was all of
no avail. Gen Sedgwick with
his 6th Corps attacked them
there and captured some 700.
prisoners and six pieces of artillery.
I passed through these fortifi
cations yesterday and found a
large number of [illegible in original]. a hundred
at least. and I think more.
They had built winter quarters
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 7

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

near Brandy Station and in
them our boys found new clothing
which was just being issued to
the troops. The clothing was of excellent
sheeps gray. the cloth being of a better
quality than much of the clothing
that is issued to us. Many of
the troops were just being paid off.
and on the whole everything proves
that it was a complete surprise
I saw in Saturday’s “Chronicle”
several extracts from Richmond
papers which it would do you good
to read.. They acknowledge seven
losses. and severely censure Brig.
Genls Hoke and Hays for permitting
their brigades to be captured..
The fight at Kellys ford was
a severe one too, and the victory
there was as complete and nearly
as large as at Rappahannock
Station. We are 3 miles from
Brandy and six from Culpepper
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 8

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

but our winter quarters will be
about 3 miles nearer Culpepper
and near the foot of Poney Moun
tain and I promise myself some
[lucious old?] quarters if we are allowed
to stay with the train. which at present
seems somewhat doubtful as a new-
fledged Lieut doing duty in our company
has just been here endeavoring to get
us back to the company again.
Today I suppose you are com
mencing the life of a teacher and
by the time feel yourself releived
from the dread of the beginning
which you have doubtless felt for
some time. I know how to sym
pathise with you both in your
suspense while waiting to obtain a
certificate and for the first day.
But self confidence and self
reliance soon overcome all these
and a proper use of these qualities
will enable you to overcome all obsta
cles and give good satisfaction in
your school
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 9

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

I wish you the best of suc
cess and feel quite confident that
you will meet with it.. Suit your
self first of all and then you
will be sure that there is at
least one who is suited.
I am sorry that Isom was
drafted and hope he will es
cape. I am anxious to see all of
our regts filled up to their full
maximum and am glad the
draft has been resorted to do a
means of bringing out a great
many who can as well as
not leave home. and who if
they will not voluntarily come
should be compelled to do so.
But when a man is situated
as Isom is I do not wish
to see him forced into even
Uncle Sam’s Service..
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 10

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

A detachment of two officers
a Sergt [illegible in original] and seventeen
men has been made from our
regt to go home after conscripts
for our regt and will start
tomorrow.. They will go to
the Conscript Camp at Grand
Rapids and I think will
have but little chance to make
home and friends a visit.
I am not of the number
and neither am I sorry. I
would like to visit home this
winter but when I do I want
to be my own master for the
time and enjoy myself without
retraint. and until I can do
so, I shall be content to stay
where I am. Our Brigade is
being paid at the present time
Our regt was paid at ten P M.
of yesterday. They are now settling
up the years account for cloth
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 11

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

ing and many of the boys are
receiving very little pay. while
others so fortunate as to have got
along without their 42 dollars
allowance in full are drawing extra
pay.. I have not yet recd my pay
and do not know as I shall
have much more due me than
the boy in our regt who had
one cent due him. He conclu
ded not to draw that until next
time..
While coming from Warrenton
Junction yesterday morning we heard
cannonading in the direction of
our front. and on reaching camp
found that it was occasioned
by the rebs making a demon
stration by crossing one regt
of Cavalry and two of infantry
at one of the above named fords
(I cannot now remember which)
and driving in our pickets
Havens Letter: November 15 1863, Page: 12

Havens Letter: November 15 1863
Havens Letter: November 15 1863

but on throwing forward rein
forcements to our troops they
skedaddled back again the
infantry plunging pell mell
into the river and throwing away
guns and eveything else to escape
being captured.
I received a letter from Father
some time ago giving me the painful
intelligence of the death of Rene
and his brother at the battle of Chick
amauga. Poor, noble fellow. I have
not been so shocked in a long time
as I was at the receipt of this. I mourn
him as a brother and find all my
hopes of good times at the close
of this war dashed to the ground.
But I must close. I have
used my last sheet of paper and
written a letter that may not
interest you for so long a time
as I have been employed in writing
it. But I have at least shown my
good will. and trust that you
will answer as soon as possible
Why dont Isom write I want
to hear from all often.
Give them my best wishes
and accepting themse for
yourself remember me as
your devoted Brother
Edwin R Havens
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