Havens Letter: December 27 1863


Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: December 27, 1863
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 17
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 17
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: December 27 1863, Page: 1

Havens Letter: December 27 1863
Havens Letter: December 27 1863

Stevensburg Virginia
December 27th 1863

Dear Father and Mother
I do not know as I really
owe you a letter, as I have not received any answer
to either of the last two letters I wrote you. but I dont
know what else to amuse myself about this evening.
There is something lacking tonight to fill up the
measure of my enjoyment.. This is often the case. I find
I don’t consider that I am homesick. for if I had some
thing to occupy ^ mind I should feel contented: but
I have nothing to read. and do not feel like taking
a very active part in the conversation that is going
on among my tent mates. Not that the subject
now under consideration is too light and trifling
or one that I should feel ashamed to express my
thoughts upon in any society. They are now talking
of the best modes of farming now in vogue among
northern farmers. But I think I can learn more
to hear them talk than to say much myself.
This has been a very stormy disagreeable day. yet
I have been busy out of doors nearly all day. Early this
morning one of my companions and myself. went with
our Brig. Q.M. to Brandy Station where we drew a
quantity of clothing. while there it rained some. and
Havens Letter: December 27 1863, Page: 2

Havens Letter: December 27 1863
Havens Letter: December 27 1863

all the time while I was coming back and then it
took two hours to issue this clothing and then we
found a plenty to do. till dark. We have worked
like beavers for a week past building winter quarters
and to night I am enjoying more comfortable quarters
than ever before since leaving Mich. It is thought
that it will take a week more to fix us up as it is
intended to do. We have stables to build large enough
to hold 18 or 20 horses. fix up an addition to our Capts
quarters. ^ a place to store away grain and hay.
All this my. five men and myself have got to do.
besides. handling from once to three times over every
bit of grain brought here which will be but little
less than 800,000 pounds per day. In addition to
this we must do a plenty of running of errands for
the department.. Sometimes I feel almost like revolting
and take the consequences. But a majority of my boys
had rather stay here than go back to the company. and then
too I sometimes think that there is nothing the matter ex
cept my own disinclination to work alias laziness. and
so I try to bear it quietly and do the best I know how.
hoping that times will be easier. sometime in the future.
I do not think much of the spot chosen for our winter
quarters. It is a great distance from timber for wood or
to build winter quarters with, all of which we have to
go two to five miles after. Christmas we were sent
two miles and a half. to get lumber and timber to use
for building. The spot which we chose was what has
been one of the finest plantations in Virginia
Havens Letter: December 27 1863, Page: 3

Havens Letter: December 27 1863
Havens Letter: December 27 1863

It was the property of one Coleman Beckham. The
dwelling was two stories high some fifty feet in length
and 30 in width and being surroun situated on a
beautiful location was surrounded by beautiful grounds.
large and excellent orchards. gardens. and out buildings
I did not enter the house, but should judge that it
was well furnished. Beautiful curtains still hang at
the windows, the doors. window blinds and the house
in almost every point looked as though it was still
in good repair; but everything outside the dooryard was
fast going to “the shades”.. He had owned a large number
of slaves. as their quarters indicated. Near the house stood
three buildings that looked like good, comfortable dwellings.
much better than many I could refer you to in Berrin
County. Then a short distance from the house I stood six
others, one a two story and a half, frame building.. Three large
barns, built of logs. of course, stood at various distances from
the house. and around these could be seen all sorts of
implements for farming more of possible and of queerer pat
terns than Mr. Noel ever had. John Minor Botts whom
you will perhap remember lives between here and Culpep
per C.H. I think I have passed his place, but do ^ not
now remember where it is. He still remains on his place
and I think his house is now made the headquarters of
some General..
Christmas was celebrated by the soldiers here in
various ways. The most common one was to have a
“spree” and it has been said that ^ sundown there
was not a drop of whiskey in the “Army of the Potomac”
Havens Letter: December 27 1863, Page: 4

Havens Letter: December 27 1863
Havens Letter: December 27 1863

Gen Custer I understand had a dance
in the mansion which he occupies as his head
quarters. and it is said that champagne and some
stronger drinks flowed freely.
The re enlisting still goes on bravely. and
many a soldier who has been away from home and
friends for two years past is now at home enjoying
the commencement of their 30 days respite from
duty. The 1st and 7th Mich Inf. regts started for home
last Wednesday or Thursday and regts from other states
have also gone. The 1st Mich Cav. has all re enlisted and
nearly all are mustered in again. When they are mus
tered into the Veteran Corps they receive $240.00 from
the general government and when they reorganize at
Detroit the middle of. February those from Cass. Co will
receive 200 more and from other counties good bounties
will be paid. Out of some 300 of the original members
of the regt some 270 have re enlisted. As I have before
told you in many of the Corps. whole brigades and
divisions are re enlisting. many of them receiving $904.00
on being mustered for the coming 3 years. It is a ques
tion of some dispute whether these “Veterans” will be discharg^
before the expiration of their new term. should the war close before
that time. Many think they will not. but will be held to
the end of the time for which they enlist..
I am enjoying the best of health and hope this
may find you in as good health and spirits as
when you lost wrote. Write soon.
E.R Havens

[Written on the left side of Scan 4]

I send you a photograph of Gen. Kilpatrick. from which you can make his acquaintance
Its “Old Kill” to the life
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